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America marks six years since 9/11 under shadow of 'war on terror'

5 hours ago

NEW YORK (AFP) — America marks the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on Tuesday with more low key commemorations than in the past and in the face of mounting concern over the US-led "war on terror."

In New York, where more than 2,700 people were killed when two hijacked planes plowed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, rescue workers were to read out the names of the dead in a solemn ceremony on Tuesday.

As in previous years, Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden released a taped message ahead of the commemorations, mocking the United States as "weak" and threatening to escalate the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq.

Unlike past commemorations, most of Tuesday's ceremony will be held at a park near Ground Zero, the area where the Twin Towers once stood, and not in the site itself, where work is under way on new skyscrapers and a memorial.

In what has become an annual ritual, the reading of the names will pause for four moments of silence to mark the exact times that the planes hit the towers and when the massive office blocks collapsed.

Church bells are to toll at 8:46 am (1246 GMT) to mark the exact moment that the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, crashed into the North Tower.

Relatives of those killed will then be able to descend a long ramp into the World Trade Center site to lay flowers and pause momentarily.

The ceremony is a lower profile event than the commemorations last year to mark the fifth anniversary of the attacks, when President George W. Bush laid a wreath at the site and later made a televised address to the nation.

Bush, who this year called for Americans to mark the attacks with memorial services and candlelight vigils, was to attend a remembrance service in Washington and later observe a moment of silence at the White House.

"The main problem is to fight extremism, to recognize that history has called us into action," Bush said last month, maintaining a line he has held since the attacks.

"By fighting extremists and radicals, we help people realize dreams. And helping people realize dreams helps promote peace," he added.

At Ground Zero, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is to lead the ceremony, at which his predecessor, Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani, will also deliver a reading.

Some of the relatives of those killed in the attacks have criticized Giuliani's attendance, especially given his presidential ambitions.

Giuliani has made much of his role as mayor in the aftermath of the attacks, but firefighters especially have criticized the city's response to the disaster and accused Giuliani of making political capital out of the attacks.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, a New York senator, is also due to take part in the ceremony, at which she will help read the names of the dead.

In the evening, a "Tribute in Light" is to project two massive beams of light into the night sky above Ground Zero to symbolize the collapsed towers.

In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where hijackers brought down United Airlines Flight 93 in a remote field, tributes were to be held Tuesday to honor the 40 passengers and crew killed.

In Washington, where 184 people were killed when American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon, the Defense Department was organizing a Freedom Walk on Sunday to honor the dead and show support for US troops serving abroad.

More than 4,100 US troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since Bush declared a "war on terror" in the aftermath of the attacks.

His popularity has plummeted since he stood in the ruins of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn six years ago to rally the American people.

Public dissatisfaction lies mainly in the war in Iraq and concern over whether the United States is safer now than it was six years ago, when fugitive Al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden launched the attacks.

The militant leader remains at large and is believed to be hiding in the rough, mountainous region straddling the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The war on terror is also looming large in the 2008 presidential campaign, with most candidates signaling a clean break with the Bush administration and several supporting the scheduled withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Other controversies still lingering six years after the attacks include the slow pace of reconstruction at Ground Zero, where only one office tower has so far been completed to replace the several buildings destroyed in the attacks.

A memorial complex known as "Reflecting Absence" is due to open in 2009 featuring two square voids in the footprint of the original Twin Towers.

The largest part of the reconstruction plan being overseen by architect Daniel Libeskind is the Freedom Tower, due to be completed in early 2011. Construction on the skyscraper began last year after a series of delays.

But perhaps the most troubling legacy of the attacks for New Yorkers is the health of the rescue and recovery workers, who six years on are suffering high rates of respiratory complaints and post traumatic stress disorder.
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iLEjwE36yeL1GUQLRyMzyVzStIzQ


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Questioning 9/11 ... With Caution
By Robert Fisk, Truthdig
Forget the conspiracy theories. Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk just wants a few questions answered.
Posted on Sep 4, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/story/61324/

The 9/11 Conspiracy of Incompetence
By Rory O'Connor, AlterNet
MediaCulture: A new book by an Emmy Award-winning journalist chronicles the exploits of the "triple-crossing" superspy who outwitted and outgunned our intelligence agencies, Ali Mohamed.
Posted on Nov 15, 2006
http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/44351/

Bush Lies... and Knows He's Lying
By Robert Parry, Consortium News
Rights and Liberties: Bush's defenders say he's just an honest guy who gets lots of bad information but the evidence points to a leader who wants his subordinates to give him a steady supply of "talking points" that can be used to achieve his goals whether the arguments are true, half true or totally false.
Posted on Oct 31, 2006
http://www.alternet.org/rights/43686/

9/11: The Case Isn't Closed
By Sander Hicks, AlterNet
In defense of the "9/11 truth movement."
Posted on Feb 2, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/story/45726/

Naomi Wolf sells the “end of America”
Hot Air, MD - Aug 24, 2007
The gist is that Al Gore’s former wardrobe specialist, Naomi Wolf, appeared on Mornin’ Joe to hawk her new book, the terrifyingly titled The End of America: ...
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