9/11 Debunking the Debunkers
9/11 - HBO "THE HAMBURG CELL"
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9/11 - HBO "THE HAMBURG CELL"



By Zahed Amanullah, January 5, 2005

After the September 11th attacks, many couldn't be faulted for thinking that it was only a matter of time before Hollywood dealt with the American psyche by creating a series of Jerry Bruckheimer-style revenge fantasies. Instead (and thankfully), the reaction from major film studios has been muted (Spike Lee's introspective "25th Hour") or oblique (Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11").

But now that the question of who did it has been answered (you do agree, no?), the questions of "why?" and "how?" continue to be asked after three years of reflection and consequence. The hijackers have since been identified, demonized, and any further attempt to understand why they did what they did was met with a Coulter-esque "kill them all," although forensic logic had always dictated we do otherwise. With so much emotion involved, it was inevitable that a more direct cinematic depiction would develop. Fortunately (and quite subversively), "The Hamburg Cell" arrives to set the tone.

"The Hamburg Cell," which has its American premiere January 10th on HBO and Canadian premiere on CBC Television on January 16th, is a film few ever expected to see made. Making its world premiere last August at the Edinburgh Film Festival and airing in prime time shortly after on Britain's Channel 4 pre-empted much of the outcry that a well debated film might experience so close to the third anniversary of the attacks. But soon after the film aired, much of the remaining criticism from victims' groups (for not portraying more victims) and British Muslims (for the lack of positive images) had dissipated, in part due to the extraordinary effort made to keep this film tempered and accurate.
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It is important to note that these 'hijackers' were patsies in a sophisticated intelligence operation.

They did not carry out these attacks - which is why there have been no convictions against those 'involved' in this operation.

Remember too, that following these attackes some of these 'suicide' hijackers were alive and gave interviews to major media outlets to clear their names.

The official story: 19 'suicide' hijackers, most of whom couldn't fly Cessna's and of which half are still alive, pulled off an assault that military pilots stated on the record couldn't have been done by crack fighter pilots.

Remarkably, there has been blind acceptance of this story, yet the US government has offered NO proof whatsoever that bin Laden was behind these attacks -- "a superbly executed military operation".

- Posted by vista on Jan 10, 05 | 7:38 pm
Remarkably, there has been blind acceptance of this story, yet the US government has offered NO proof whatsoever that bin Laden was behind these attacks -- "a superbly executed military operation".

As opposed to your compelling evidence to the contrary...

Even Osama bin Laden believes that those 19 people did it, and he praises them at every opportunity.

- Posted by shahed on Jan 10, 05 | 9:22 pm
Vista my friend, how much do you want to wager this film wont have the part about the dancing Israeli "art students" checking out the carnage and celebrating in central park?
Interesting that some of the people telling those asking some tough questions are Muslims themselves, including the esteemed editor.
Just keep in mind that the criminals who masterminded the war against Iraq would have no problems lying and misleading the sheep about 911.

- Posted by DrDriveBy on Jan 10, 05 | 10:34 pm
The greatest disservice to the Muslim community is to accept that these individuals carried out this operation.

Did they have motive? Yes.

Forty-five years ago, President Eisenhower discussed what he called the "campaign of hatred against us" in the Arab world, "not by the governments but by the people."

The National Security Council did their analysis and advised, it is the recognition that the U.S. supports corrupt and brutal governments that block democracy and development and does so because of its concern "to protect its interest in Near East oil."

But this does not give them the ability to carryout the deed the west gives them credit for.

- Posted by vista on Jan 11, 05 | 2:28 pm
Well I saw it last night, and the acting was very good, except for the wife.

I was surprised when muhammed atta refered to drinking beer as a "sin" rather than as "haram" or "forbidden", I don't think the two concepts of "sin" and "haram" are the same although they (obviously) have some common elements.

- Posted by AllahWHO on Jan 13, 05 | 5:40 pm
I just saw the film and thought it was excellent.

I'm an American convert to Islam and my wife is Egyptian. Although my politics are more pro-American than most other Muslims I know (I supported the war in Iraq and think the insurgents there would be wise to accept the offer of democracy), I still worry about negative portrayals of Muslims and Arabs in the American media. Obviously, a movie profiling the September 11 hijackers is one that could be prone to unfair portrayals.

But, as it turns out, I thought the movie was remarkable for humanizing Jarrah and Atta in a way that provided real insight into the way basically sane, believing people could follow such an extreme path -- and yet the film avoided becoming sappy or providing lame excuses for the horrible crime they perpetrated. At the same time, the movie accurately portrayed a lot of the inflated, hateful and (to my mind) stupid rhetoric that pollutes much of the Arab and Muslim conversation about politics. While I was occasionally embarrassed to see such things said on television, my wife and I both felt that the arguments the Hamburg cell conspirators used to justify the unjustifiable were realistic and well in line with comments that we heard regularly on the streets of Cairo. I could easily imagine people I know speaking and being sympathetic to such arguments.

And that's what made this movie so powerful. It showed accurately the way many in the Arab world really think about politics, and left it up to the viewer to fill in the emotional details and arrive at his or her own conclusions about the appropriate response. In a way that very little "journalism" has since 9/11, this movie informed viewers about what's really going on in the minds of the terrorists and, more importantly, many who consider themselves mainstream Muslims.

It's up to everyone to decide how to feel about that. As for me, my only hope is that a stronger response to these ultimately wrong-headed arguments will start to develop within the Muslim community. Blaming is a waste of time. Muslims need to change our own conversation so that the empty and misleading words of the self-described "mujahedeen" no longer sound as persuasive to the rest of the community as they apparently did to Atta and Jarrah.

- Posted by AbdelRauf on Jan 19, 05 | 9:01 pm
Many people who follow extremist views are "normal" on the outside. I think of the Heaven's Gate cult here in the U.S. There were some very educated professionals there who were respected by their community, yet they decided to kill themselves because they believed aliens were coming to save their souls. Humans are very complex people.

Not that I'd ever think conspiracy theorists would ever rest, but didn't Bin Laden lay claim to the September 11th attacks? Were the Israeli art students in the same group as the secret bomb testers who caused the Asian tsunami? Well, at least you get to have your own opinions. Keep em coming.

- Posted by kiki on Feb 04, 05 | 7:48 am
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