Talk about Newsnight


The pornography of terror?

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Sep 06, 01:12 PM

rubble4_203.jpgOn a day of ceremonies to mark the fifth anniversary of the 11 September attacks, Newsnight’s preparations are underway for a special edition of the programme this evening.

With guests that include General Sir Rupert Smith, the former Deputy Allied Commander of Nato; the novelist Martin Amis; the legendary US anchorman Dan Rather; the former CIA Director Jim Woolsey; Prince Hassan of Jordan; and the former PM of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, we’ll be devoting an extended programme to the anniversary and the war on terror the attacks spawned.

It's a huge subject, but also controversial. Over the past five years 9/11 has touched the stories we do on Newsnight almost every day. But by making programmes that replay the iconography of the attacks, is there a danger of playing into the hands of the terrorists?

Also as part of tonight’s programme, we’ll be talking to the artist Joel Meyorowitz, the only photographer to be given access to ground zero in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.You can view some of his images via his website

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:35 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Barbara Kendall-Davies wrote:

Yes, I think there is a danger in endlessly regurgitating unpleasant memories. We have to learn from the past but not live in it.

  • 2.
  • At 01:44 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • David Symes wrote:

The 9/11 attacks were more than the Twin Towers. The successful attack on the Pentagon and unsuccesful attack on the White House have been overshadowed by the deaths of thousands in the Twin Towers. Most of whom died because of architectural design flaws not Al Queda planning. The consequences of these design flaws have since resulted in delayed death and suffering of many New Yorkers due to the dust that was created. If the Twin Towers are to serve as an icon for the future then they should be remembered for two things: The madness of fundemental religious belief and the arrogance of dehumanising architecture.

  • 3.
  • At 01:45 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Katy Pickvance wrote:

If this programme will end up blaming 'foreign policy' as the root of all probelms, as many do nowadays, I will switch it off and will not watch it.

Last night's wonderful programme on the eight year prior to 9/11/2001 illustrated it extremely well what is the root of the problems:

The main, talented engineer who turned into a major terrorist, got angry in 1993 because he could not find a job in America!

He then went on telephoning his 'grievancies' as the Palestine cause! Well, sounds 'sexier' than: 'I did not get the job and wealth I was dreaming about!' - doesn't it!

Then happily escaped to Manila where he womanised and drunk alcohol, while claiming to be a true Muslim. Incosistancies?


Then he tried to blow up Pakistan's only important FEMALE politician; a few muslims who are of a different trend of his; a Japanese person, jsut for practice, you name it!

Foreign policy? Couldn't be a more simplified explanation!

AS I say, if that is what Newsnight comes up with, my reaction is: "SWITCH"

Try to analyse! Note to simplify, please!

  • 4.
  • At 01:50 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Gregg Akita wrote:

It's dangerous to legitimate 9/11 as a terrorist attack, when in fact it was a conpiracy created and put forward by the United States government, led George W. Bush.
This rehashing serves him well, as it obfuscates the TRUTH and validates the LIE.

  • 5.
  • At 01:51 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Leonidas Hadjipetrou wrote:

No, there is no such danger. Terrorism does not feed on Newsnight. It feeds on American and British foreign policy. If a just solution is found for the Palaistinian problem (while maintaining Israeli pre-1967 borders) and occupation forces pull out of Iraq (and leave the wealth of the country to its people) then terrorists will immediately lose 90% of their recruitment base. The remaining terrorists can then be apprehended by the police (both domestic and international) like every other common criminal.

  • 6.
  • At 01:51 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • peter thurgood wrote:

The media keeps taking the establishment view about terrorism without noticibly addressing the reasons why the 'terrorists' do what they do. Let's all remember that the Israel was born out of terrorism and let's also not forget that because the US supported the IRA terrorists we now have to look upon them as our friends too.

  • 7.
  • At 01:54 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Colin Watson wrote:

Yes I agree. I've felt for a long time that the 'feel' of reporting when looking back on terrorist attacks is doing little more than glorify the perpetrators. Why do we have to see their faces so often ? Aren't we all victims of the oversimplified 'debate' that the americans on one side and alqaeda on the other are happy keep alive?

  • 8.
  • At 01:57 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • derek dixon wrote:

it seems to me that the so called war on terror will never end whilst it remains a military style conflict. Surely at some point we have to better understand the drivers behind the terrorists positions and secure a peaceful outcome through shared dialogue and diplomacy.

I would argue that it would be hard to report the anniversary of any event without images that capture that moment.

Surely a more profound question would be: is talking about 9/11 every year on the same day playing into the hands of the terrorists? Putting such importance into the images, by begging a question about them, hides the issue of your own discussion on the anniversary. Are we to just accept that such discussion-image heavy or imageless-is intrinsically valid because something important happened five years ago today?

  • 10.
  • At 02:02 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Rashid wrote:

By commemmorating this day ( 9/11 ) in a big way every year must put a smile on the face of whoever was responsible (there are many theories as to who did it).I think on this day the world leadres should take account of their deeds and the public should make them accountable for the mess these overpaid and underworked politicians have got us all into but conveniently shift the blame else where. I strongly believe that the ordinary people in this world want to live peacefully but the politicians are taking undue advantage.

  • 11.
  • At 02:17 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Pete Day wrote:

Nothing can be done about these terrorist attacks until both Bush and Blair have left the political stage and someone who really wants to bring Israel and the Palestinians together, comes along. We may have a long wait.

  • 12.
  • At 02:21 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Simon King wrote:

Ignoring the bizarre rants about foreign policy and coverage and returning to the original question: There’s little new to be learned from re-watching the images of terrorism and war, particularly that covered by the mass media in the last ten years or so. The replaying of such footage is used solely for the purposes of emotional manipulation, something frequently practised by the media to force a point home or wake people up from their jaded, over-exposed somnambulism.

What repeating these images does succeed in doing is polarising the viewers and making the necessary debate even harder to have. Many will be sickened and angered by seeing these things, whilst others will consider it a call to arms. Neither is a rational, productive reaction. Quite the opposite, it will only serve to exacerbate the alienation and misunderstanding.

Leave the Hollywood-style slow-motion replays of bombs and planes to channel Five and Sky News. Newsnight should be trying to advance the debate, not increase its audience share.

  • 13.
  • At 02:25 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Nancy Grigg wrote:

I can understand this point but here in Canada we had several programs aired last night by CBC showing the erroneous investigations, cover-ups and sickness/death resulting from the WTC both those working in the bldg and the firemen who are now ill and dying from what was at ground zero.
I fail to see how this being aired in America will be helpful as those involved with the airing of this are on the side of the cover-ups.
I think it should not be aired also as it is not an objective approach.

Coverage is a problem. These terror groups must do these 'spectaculars' for the world wide publicity. After all they are not doing any real harm to the military force of their hate target with them. It is only for the publicity. Then our government goes and takes measures that destroy our traditions and way of life that terrorists could never achieve without such complicity. The combination of the publicised terror acts and police state obsessed Labour are responsible for our own oppression with the attempt to force a national identity database on once free people. The real enemy we have gained is not the terror bombers but Labour, and any supporting their despotic measures, spuriously to combat very rare acts. I would far rather run the risk of dying a free person than living a slave, tagged by a national ID card system. Lightning strikes one rarely, oppression is every day.

Every time the BBC re-shows terror acts they are working for the terrorist. Right from the first instance media should not get so obsessive in reporting such things. When they happen we are deluged with pointless opinions, victims, of friends or family of those somehow closer to the event pushed to say something, ‘experts’ adding their conjecture. It should be kept simple and short. Not a feeding frenzy for media, doing the terrorist's work for them.

This anniversary report should not be more than a couple of sentences and a picture of some wreath laying ceremony. 1 minute max.

  • 15.
  • At 02:41 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Dave Jones wrote:

As a pure observer, I think that the 911 scholars for truth movement is gaining more credibility as the fundamental questions it asks continue unanswered.
For example, I simply cannot get my mind around a boeing 757 hitting the Pentagon at 400(?) m.p.h. and making a 16 foot hole on the ground floor, leaving adjacent windows intact and pc screens visble in the offices- and I remember those images on live TV.
We are advised that the heat from two similar plane crashes caused the twin towers to collapse - structural steel melted in less than an hour!
Most people in this country do not seem to realise that three towers collapsed on 9/11 -the third being 47 stories high (not at all insignificant in UK terms) and a block away.
There are many entirely valid questions that any intelligent person might reasonably ask, and the lack of equally intelligent answers/debate does little to comfort those that would generally prefer to believe those in a position of power.
Will you be posing any of those questions?

  • 16.
  • At 02:43 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Paul D wrote:

I have no problem with the rememberence of an awful atrocity - providing the sensitivities of survivors and victims of relatives are taken into account. Given the technology available to modern news media, we should be unsuprised if some of the images are distressing. What would be inappropriate would be to use the anniversary to promote the idea that events that followed were inevitable or justified. There are those who believe that that 9/11 gave precisely the excuse that was needed to drive an existing agenda. Those of us who were heartbroken for the good people of New York on that day will remember with them - and that, on this day, should be enough.

  • 17.
  • At 02:44 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Terence Sheehan wrote:

you cannot keep blaming this person until you get to the bottom of the situation we have all got to get together and listen to evry body answer all we are doing is going around as headless chicken maybe we never willl or we will.this situation we find ouself in was our own doing until we find out our true Population we can never get to the answer I;m not saying I.D. cards for evrybody is the answer but it would help our hospitals etc and maybe us what else is there left to do

  • 18.
  • At 02:46 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Harry wrote:

Why do we have to be reminded of it and more importantly, why do you have to remind us?
We cannot do anything it is history, why keep repeating the misery?

  • 19.
  • At 02:46 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Brian J Dickenson wrote:

9/11 was without doubt an horrific act. However, I would still like to hear the truth about the invasion of Iraq. Even the American CIA stated that there was no link between Al Queda and Saddam. Bush is on record as saying that a link must be found to give him the excuse to go to war, it was never found. There is little doubt that Saddam was a tyrant, just as so many in power are. But Israel saw Iraq as a threat, just as they see Iran and the Lebanon. Will these countries be Bushes next target for 'democracy'.
Will Blair follow again like a good poodle.

  • 20.
  • At 02:49 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • barry childers wrote:

Yes, I think there is that danger. But we shouldn't let it deter us from responding - as we see it. It would be even worse if they shut us up! Barry Childers, Geneva

  • 21.
  • At 02:52 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Asif Butt wrote:

The images are sickening. They affect the heart - the people in the planes, the towers and the 'jumpers' were all real, had families and are no longer with us. The constant re-hashing of these images (tv in particular) seems only to serve the culture of fear that has controlled the international agenda for years. It also hardens the heart to the reality and horror of the event. I can't watch it any more, and would advise others not to. I know it happened. I'm not in denial. I have been affected directly since, like many others - increased racial abuse, my wife and daughters having half eaten burgers thrown at them out of moving cars - and that is mild in comparison to hundreds being locked up with no charge and being released with no apology... or shot... or blamelessly killed due to flawed intelligence. And all of that is in the UK.

The effect of these images is subtle, but measurable in language, perception and reactions, especially when it comes to interacting with people from 'popularly screened' backgrounds.

Question: How are the repeating of these images aiding/hindering current crucial dialogue?

  • 22.
  • At 02:55 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Jonathan Timbers wrote:


Why on earth choose a novelist, particularly one who comes from such a priviledged and enclosed world? If you wanted a writer, why not choose journalists who have some specialist knowledge of the region, like Robert Fisk? Christopher Hitchens might be good choice to put a case for the war in Iraq.

  • 23.
  • At 02:59 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • MICK FENNER. wrote:

Lack of talking is the problem.
The attitude of I am right and you are wrong will always create death and destruction.
My god is correct or my atheism is correct means death to a lot of people who all they want to do is live with peace.
What is the answer, certainly not what you think is right.
Sit down and talk whatever you think, do not have any pre you must do this or that.
Remember it is and say it to yourself I am at fault.
Ignore history.

  • 24.
  • At 03:10 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

The puppet of the permanent government walked slowly down the slope with his wife Laura Bush towards ground zero, evil beyond belief.

This was not just terrorism, this was terrorism carried out by the American Government for a much greater goal.

The TRUTH will come out!

  • 25.
  • At 03:25 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Jackie Domingo wrote:

I believe that it is neccessary to show the footage of that fateful day, regardless of which anniversary it is marking, as a poignant reminder of what a nation endured and lived through, and the innocent citizens of other countries who were caught up in the horror. It justifies the lack of a body or remains to many families by taking them 'back' to the scene and the times and to be that little closer to whom they lost. Their spirit will dwell in that place and form a permanent memorial in it's own way to one and all. It is still as raw today as five years ago, and will always be so. The commemoration of two world wars marked with poppies each November is a tribute that has spanned the generations that did not live through the wars, but honour the brave victims in their hearts for all they fought for, the same with '9/11', it will live in everyone's heart that feels for the innocent victims and their family and friends. I still cry for them, but did not know them all.

  • 26.
  • At 03:28 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • David Wood wrote:

When is the day of commemoration for the hundreds of thousands of Arabs maimed and massacred by the Bush-Blair coalition, and by Israeli terrorism?

  • 27.
  • At 03:36 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Dave-o wrote:

Who cares what the terrorists think?

We have to remember good and bad events from history as they tell us (and, therefore, we learn) so much. Books may tell a story, but those stories are invariably someone else’s version of events. Video or film footage of modern history paints a true picture, however pleasant or painful. Shouldn’t this ensure that consequent discussion has a much more apparent origin from which to establish the truth?

  • 28.
  • At 03:46 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Mike Cooke wrote:

5 yrs after that day we are more scared of travel, scared of anyone who's a bit different, race relations are souring before our eyes, our soldiers are dying every day, we are more and more disliked throughout the world.

The terrorists have won haven't they?

Yes, I think there is a danger. I remember my dad who was invalided out of the Royal Navy after the Great War. He was severely injured by shrapnel while serving. Also he was pronounced dead with the Asian 'flu in 1918, but recovered while on a slab at the Naval hospital morgue. He was discharged after the war on the grounds of 'neurasthenia' (now known as post traumatic stress).

When asked about the first World War all he would say was that "it was a waste of time". He would not join the British Legion, buy a poppy or observe the 2 minutes' silence.

  • 30.
  • At 04:34 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • David Butler wrote:

I very much hope that your progamme will serve to balance the obvious pro American administration bias of last night's dramatised documentary (sic) on the run up to 9/11.

  • 31.
  • At 04:40 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Paul D wrote:

Please - Philip:Post 24 - If you wish to promote the premise that societies sometimes invite horrors that are visited on them, I will listen. If you wish to promote the US as the author of many of these horrors, you may have a point (personally, I don't agree). But to characterise the president as 'evil beyond belief' and attribute the blame to the administration is to stretch credibility beyond breaking point. 9/11 was an act of inexcusable violence perpetrated against innocent people to grab the attention of the world in an unprecedented way. In that respect, it may have succeeded. If it provides a platform for conspiracy theorists, then it has definitely succeeded. I suggested in my earler post that today might be a moment to think about the innocent. If you are minded to argue about the guilty - post tomorrow.

  • 32.
  • At 04:43 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Teacher Claudio wrote:

Unfortunately, the lives of thousands of innocent people are used for useless causes throughout the world. Politicians don't seem to care once their lives are not in danger. The World Trade Center attacks remind me of the writer George Bernard Shaw's "Man and Superman" when he says: " the arts of life man invents nothing; but in the arts of death he outdoes Nature herself..."

Teacher Claudio, SP, Brazil

  • 33.
  • At 04:47 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Syd Atkinson wrote:

I do feel that the almost constant referral to the devastating activities of the terrorists is simply providing them with greater publicity, thereby attracting others to their cause. We are still waiting for the punishment of the offenders to take place, and I, for one, am tired of the delay.

  • 34.
  • At 05:13 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Matt Incles wrote:

I think the real danger is not the 9/11 images but the discourse surrounding it. We should not engage in pop psychoanalysis of the terrorist mind, nor on simplistic political analyses with no substance. The 9/11 attacks are part of a much larger picture, at the heart of which is international political and economical issues spanning some 40+ years. If our debates do not give credence to the underlying structural issues and US led hegemony in the Middle East, over time, then we do run the risk of turning the 9/11 images into isolated iconography, keep talking.

  • 35.
  • At 05:31 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Andrew Green wrote:

I can understand some of the other comments made above but this is news it does not give credence, it gives people everywhere time to think, contemplate and draw their own opinions. but one thing it does demonstrate is how we on this side of the the world, remember our dead and the respect, sorrow and thoughts we give them from most countries. I cannot recall however any event in the middle east where they even do something similiar, life does not seem to be given the same importance respect/awe or sense of loss (apart from manic funerals), in the same collective way that most of the West or none Arab countries do?.

We should learn from the past without living in it.

  • 37.
  • At 05:53 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Umana wrote:

9/11 is always a dark day for the Americans and the world at large.
But what i know is that the torrorist can not push Americans to the wall.

  • 38.
  • At 06:02 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Peter Jenner wrote:

9/11 only matters because it happened in the heart of America with white American victims of senseless violence(even the non-white or non-American victims, dying this death, become honorary white Americans).

All the non-white or non-American victims of senseless violence before and since are hardly remembered by anyone apart from their families.

  • 39.
  • At 06:13 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • fonka mutta wrote:

I think America is gifted in creating dramatic feelings to serve its purpose.
Congrats you remember your dead. Elsewhere they're pale memories, almost inexistent. God Bless America!

  • 40.
  • At 06:28 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Alain Job wrote:

I have forgotten how many people died in Kenyan and Tanzanian terrorists attacks, i have even forgotten the day this happen as well as what i was actually doing that very day,yet i have being reminded every single year about what happened in New York, does this means dying in America deserve more respect than dying in Africa, Indonesia or even in Irak? You would have done this part of the world a better service by dedicating this very News Night program to some special listening sessions, as it seems, no one has understood anything of what the world is actually facing.If the West ever though it was part of another planet, then here it is.

  • 41.
  • At 06:59 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Norman Cove wrote:

Any one concerned about the root cause of the present Middle Eastern crisis would do well to read or re-read T.E. Lawrence' 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom'

I strongly urge the strategists on all sides to regard this book as 'required reading'.

The first seven chapters alone, describe exceedingly well the psyhcology and personna of the Arabian.

A full understanding of the make up of this most misunderstood of all peoples should change the attitudes of almost everyone
The present belief they are a crowd of ignorant terrorists is as self serving as it is false.

And please lets us not dismiss Lawrence as a depraved homosexual. His writings, today, are is valid as they were 85 years ago.

Vir Ipse

  • 42.
  • At 08:00 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Carollen Mathieu wrote:

I read all the views. Some are way out there, some confused, others valid.. What scares me as an American who has property in NY City Queens & Worcester Ma. Is reaction to fear..Everytime we relive 9-11 we conferm our fear. Truely 3000 people out of 6 billion is very small, unless it was your loved one killed. I love Ny city I was not scared even the next day because I understood terrorism is to create fear. We need to stop anyone form using a plain as a bom again. But the chance that your # will be punched in a world of 6 billion is infentesital. I will not let the bullys force me to fear my fellow man. A handful of wackos wether christian or what ever will not win agains my love of people & freedom.. I say no to ID cards anyplace. why? To Behinde the Iron curtian or Germany SS durring ww2. Lets not let them " The bully" do that to us "freedom loving people". Live Free or Die!!I love life I want to grow old with my loved ones. However I am willing to die for feedom. Life would not be true lieving without freedom.. We have to keep the governments honest. Power is dangerous and easily abused.. Just say no to fear & Hate..

  • 43.
  • At 08:32 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • John Schofield wrote:

It seems to me that there's an unseemly tendency to publish pictures of terrorists over and over again, in such a way as to perpetuate their acts and present them as glorious examples of self-immolation - certainly in the minds of 'home-grown' disaffected youngsters - of whom there are a great many.

  • 44.
  • At 09:07 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

I think we need to see more of the opinions of the actual New Yorkers who lived through 9/11, nearly 50% of whom think that the Bush administration was negligent or complicit in the attacks and 70% of whom disapprove of Bush.

  • 45.
  • At 09:44 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Tania K wrote:

I am not sure that inviting such a supremely bankable novelist as Martin Amis strikes the right note.Something a little theatrical about it.

  • 46.
  • At 09:45 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Yunus Umar wrote:

Could'nt Newsnight be the first to start looking into the fact that so many educated people now know that 9/11 was a sick plot which was connived by by the American Government as an attack on peoples liberties and millions if not billions of dollars realised in security equipment by the same goons who are shareholders of these greedy conglomarates?Oh!But sorry you cannot do that because of 'TOP SECRET CLASSIFIED INFORMATION' which you will not be able to obtain.9/11 had nothing to do with terrorists.3000 or so people were expedible to further the New World Order Ideology!A growing number of Americans now understand this!

  • 47.
  • At 11:04 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Wilkinson wrote:

Yes, someone in the mainstream media really ought to at least ask some questions - how could the three steel-framed towers disappear into neat piles of rubble, what was Cheney doing as the Pentagon flight came in, how were so many military exercises (including a plane-into-building) scheduled at once, who allowed or ordered the crime scene cleared, why were blueprints not supplied to the investigators, where was Rumsfeld, what happened to the fourth flight, who was sent home, when and by whom? Who did the insider trading, who was missing from the premises when the planes hit, who suppressed John P. O'Neill's Al Quaeda investigation, who sacked him when he complained, who made him WTC security chief afterwards, what do independent experts think of the film of WTC7's sedate collapse, etc...

Even just a rundown of 'inaccurate' or inconsistent statements on the topic made by the main Neo-con players would be instructive.

Come on Newsnight, don't go down in history as just another quietist media outlet. Surely you can manage a sensible debate on these genuine questions. I bet you'd get record ratings.

  • 48.
  • At 11:38 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Laura Macleod wrote:

of course these images are becoming pornographic. it is unnecessary to keep on seeing the tragedy unfold over and over again. It seems a media monster is keeping this afloat. I believe we are largely ignorant of all the positive things that are happening in the Islamic world and there must be millions of examples. Instead, the west is perpetuating the feeling of terror by rehashing hate over and over again and the daily diatribe. I would like to dare Newsnight to devote an entire programme to only the good things happening in our world for a change - lets see the power of that and how the public react.

  • 49.
  • At 11:40 PM on 11 Sep 2006,
  • Ann Hamilton wrote:

I will simply write LEST WE FORGET...
Mans inhumanity to man needs to be kept at the forefront of our conscience. apportioning blame is not an answer or a solution. Prayer just might be both.

  • 50.
  • At 12:30 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Jo-An M Partridge wrote:

I believe it is essential that the world is reminded of 9/11 and in particular the cause, otherwise in the future some idiot is going to say it never happened, just as today according to some people the Holocaust never happened. But as a per a previous comment we don't need to live in it. Jo-An

  • 51.
  • At 12:52 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

All atrocities have the right to be recorded and seen again and again. Vietnam,Auschwitz,etc etc. It ism naive to expect 9/11 to fade from our screen.This is the era of acute minute by minute imaging. But it is also truer than ever that the old adage the "medium is the message" is blighting our lives.I get the feeling that we are saturated and mired in a fog of first class images but second class so-called "experts" and commentators.The media has not found a vital way of dealing with the issues facing mankind : we are fed endless slick imagery and reportage of global wars and human aggression, global warming, famine. Television has to create a better forum for humanity to actually find solutions.The invited guests on these TV "specials" are boring and unrepresentative- the "uninvited" controversial figures need to be sought out and brought onto television- then let the real debate begin. TV is becoming a tired and ineffective medium for getting to grips with the issues our world needs to act on.

  • 52.
  • At 01:01 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Tim Wilkinson wrote:

David Symes (#2): Remind me, what were the "design flaws" that caused the three steel-framed stuctures to suddenly drop to the ground in small pieces?

In the case of WTC2 this happened after only minor damage from the crash - in which much of the aviation fuel went up in the fireball or down to the street - followed by less than an hours' localised fire, small and cool enough for humans to survive on the same (open plan) floors.

That's not to say that WTC1 is explicable by the plane crash either, it's just that WTC2 is the clearer case. Compare the Madrid fire - that's how steel-framed buildings burn!

The video footage of WTC7's destruction reveals an occurrence so astronomically improbable as to be for practical purposes impossible, unless it was a controlled demolition. And you know what Sherlock Holmes had to say about the process of elimination. Take a deep breath, and another look at the footage.

Some have claimed that the floors were loosely - precariously you migyt say - suspended between the central supporting shaft and the outer frame. The floors fell onto each other, all the way to the ground. Well that's a theory about the floors - what about the steel structure they were hanging inside?

I don't have any viable theory of my own to offer - the problem is, neither do any of the official reports.

  • 53.
  • At 02:09 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Wiseferret wrote:

It is not the rehashing and reshowing the images. It is how they are being propogandized by those in power to ferment fear and inhibit real thinking to workable solutions.
I recall those days following 9/11/01 as a time of unity and a will to deal with the issue. Unfortunately, there was no leader daring or wise enough to utilize that unity.

  • 54.
  • At 03:51 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Reza wrote:

"If this programme will end up blaming 'foreign policy' as the root of all probelms, as many do nowadays, I will switch it off and will not watch it.

Last night's wonderful programme on the eight year prior to 9/11/2001 illustrated it extremely well what is the root of the problems:

The main, talented engineer who turned into a major terrorist, got angry in 1993 because he could not find a job in America!

He then went on telephoning his 'grievancies' as the Palestine cause! Well, sounds 'sexier' than: 'I did not get the job and wealth I was dreaming about!' - doesn't it!

Then happily escaped to Manila where he womanised and drunk alcohol, while claiming to be a true Muslim. Incosistancies?


Then he tried to blow up Pakistan's only important FEMALE politician; a few muslims who are of a different trend of his; a Japanese person, jsut for practice, you name it!

Foreign policy? Couldn't be a more simplified explanation! "

Basing your views of millions of people living in wildly different countiries, in very didvided sects on a partly ficticious programme is laughable to say the least.

Nothing excuses terrorism.

No terrorist is a muslim.

  • 55.
  • At 04:10 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

I don't see how any of this can be solved by a single leader and the United Nations seems to be impotent- There are tinderboxes all over the world. East Timor has had hardly any airtime and is a disgrace to the so called moral beacons of the USA and other democracies who ignore the human rights violations and genocide that have taken place there. Zimbabwe and other African states are waging war on their own people while the West plays metaphorical chess with innocent human lives.
All of these are just as valid examples of pornography as 9/11 but the family of man seems strangely more addicted to the glossy spectacular images of 9/11 - The USA and the Western nation states are in post-traumatic shock even now - not just to 9/11 but to the inability to come to terms with the abject failure of materialist society to deal with world views contrary to their own. Radical muslims were not bred in a vacuum and the West has to acknowledge its hypocrisy and do some soul searching too to recognise its responsibility in causing these actions. The psychoanalyst Carl Jung recognised the concept of the shadow of the collective unconscious lay in all humankind. He also said that "the brighter the light the darker the shadow". The illusion of the US bright lamp of liberty that once shone as a beacon for all nations of the world is now tarnished by its own profligate consumerism. Radical muslims are evil but the US need to examine the crass plank in their own eye too. We all need to get down on our knees and ask for forgiveness. Allah and Jesus and all the other deities must surely be looking on in abject despair at the mess we are all making in their name(s).

  • 56.
  • At 04:16 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Elias Aliferis wrote:

What's playing into the hands of the terrorists is Bush & Co's mindless invasion of Iraq and their continued presence there !
Also, the recent 'blitzkreig' by a hapless Israeli Government on Lebanon with the sanction of Bush & Blair , killing thousands and destroying much property !

Their stupidity is too astonishing to be believed ! All they have done is fan the flame of terrorism , indeed poured kerosene on it
It's time the UK and the USA got rid of these bumbling fools either by election or impeachment !

With leaders like these we don't need enemies !

  • 57.
  • At 07:34 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Dominique wrote:

I'm not sure what the answer to the question is, but I do know that if I had died on that fateful day, I would be turning in my grave knowing what was subsequently done to avenge my death. Innocents subjected to carnage in Afghanistan and Iraq, then to add insult to injury, Dr Rice plays the piano while Lebanon burns. I'm a mother and feel ashamed that we have torn the lives of other families apart. Rape, murder, torture and GWB says we are spreading freedom. I just don't get it. It actually makes me feel ill.

  • 58.
  • At 10:51 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • david saunders wrote:

Newsnight, 11/9/06: - Of the contributors to the debate marking five years since 9/11 it was Benazir Bhutto and Dan Rather who impressed me most. It was refreshing to see the modesty with which Rather expressed his highly articulate opinions; and Ms Bhutto seemed to me to pin a very important distinction between the territorial grievances affecting the MiddleEast and quite separate reactionary cultural forces in world Islam.

As an Islamic woman she clearly isn't convinced by the violently anti-feminist strand of Wahabism; nor indeed is she happy with any of its retrogressive versions of Islam.

That Bush/Blair have not troubled themselves to distinguish these quite different contemporary sources of 'terrorism' has only made more difficult the work of all moderate progressives, of whatever background.

But these are precisely the kind of distinctions we have to make for any sustainable peace to come about.


David Saunders

Does Newsnight ever do any research regarding Muslim matters?

Benazir Bhutto was able to make, unchallenged, the assertion that the Muslim world has condemned the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11. This not borne out by research carried out by Pew Research

A summary is given here

This shows that the Muslim world does not even acknowledge that Muslims were responsible for 9/11.

Benazir Bhutto's word are typical Muslim Taqqiya.

Martin Amis is a typical left wing 'useful fool' who will aid and abet the introduction of Sharia law into Britain by clinging to a belief in a mythical group of 'moderate' Muslims which no one has yet been able to identify. His suggestion that we are witnessing a 'civil war in Islam' rather than a 'clash of civilisations between Islam and the West' does not stand up to scrutiny. He believes that Islamism was started by Sayyid Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood 70 years ago. The truth is that it was started in the 7th century by Mohammed himself. Mohammed teachings to

'kill them wherever you find them'

suggests that Bin Laden has a better grasp of what Islam is about than any so called moderate like Sir Iqbal Sacranie.

There is an underlying denial about what Islam stands for and a forlorn hope that appealing to some mythical moderates will bring the fanatics to heel. It is Islam itself which should
be brought under the microscope. It is not a religion of peace it is a religion for world domination which sees the world divided into two parts - Dar al-Islam (the house of Islam) and Dar al-Harb (the house of War) with the ultimate aim of destroying Dar al-Harb.

Non-Muslims need to get a grasp of what the West is up against.

  • 60.
  • At 10:59 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • DavidF wrote:

There is not a danger of playing into the hands of the terrorist because we did that on the day of the attacks when we started shutting down our societies out of terror.

What there is a danger of doing is not taking the ball back from the terrorists by diminishing the power we give them by endlessly replaying images that are five years old.

Terrorism doesn't survive on the past. It survives on the present choices and that's what we have to address-How do we un-empower them? That's what I suggest we look at.

  • 61.
  • At 11:02 AM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • R.K. wrote:

9/11, should be a remainder for people and nations to refrain from indulging and interfering into the internal affairs of other countries.The Super Powers should always involve the UN and the Security council to redress any wrongs done by any of the roghue countries ruled by fundamentalists.

USA in hindsight, should now realise that it was unnecesssary for her to invade Iraq after messing up the Afghan issue.Osma bin Laden is yet to be captured and his terrorist followrs will not sleep until they have their say and that by itself a strong warning to the west.WWW111 is round the corner and no one at this late stage can avoid it altogether.God bless and be with us.

  • 62.
  • At 12:42 PM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Ashraf wrote:


What is actually shown?

If its the truth, no matter how upsetting or insettling it may be, it must be shown. We can only learn from our history.

What I really hate is all the spin put on them by the various directors.

Hopefully one day the truth will come out and we will all see what is really happening...

Hope this happens in my lifetime!

The 9/11 event can be discussed widely, but I think the attack is a sort of globalization of manufacured risk in new era. It clrealy shows that there is no safe island in the global world. So, to predict and then control the future risks, the different groups of pepole should involve, whethere expersts or laymen, to understand the future' fileds of risk in the world, i.e., the age of planning is over and with involving the stakeholders we have to make right policies to control the future risk. i just add that the type of 9/11 attach is not a ganger but a risk, in its new and modern sense. (see for more Ulrich Beck's argument)

  • 64.
  • At 03:52 PM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Jennifer Watts wrote:

Hi,I wrote earlier on what I had seen of the programme, unfortunately I could not watch again until just now.
I thought it was a well put together programme, with people chosen for the various views. It seemed right from the begining the thread throughout the whole programme, was diplomacy and discussion, between nations, politics and not least religion. I had to write a paper once on religion and politics, more or less from Charlemagne through time. It was not an important paper,however the conclusions I drew was that the 2 were insoluble. I still think this. to be able to talk is still better than fight, not as an appeaser, but on an equal basis. Of course one cannot talk to the Taleban or al-Quaeda at this moment in time, but there are many other Muslim countries with which it is possible. Afterall, there many more religions than Christianity. Regarding 9/11, it should be rembered, 5 years have passed, but not every year, like 11/11, which involved 2 W.W. and many wars since. Besides Also the "RBL" is a charity,specifically for the Forces andtheir dependants.
Finally, once more Newsnight has suceeded.Congrats, Jennifer W.

  • 65.
  • At 04:32 PM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • stephane golfar wrote:

I do not buy what any government tells me about Sept. 11 or for that matter any thing else they might declare about anything else.
An independent commission composed of absolutely non political figures should be assigned to probe into these acts of barbary....
What we need on this very small satellite is no borders- no religion that seeks to divide- and certainly no evil politician and his army
First and foremost, all human beings on this planet, and that includes me, should come from the heart and not from anywhere else and perhaps the result might be that they would soon realize that we are ONE and that no difference can ever stand in the face of that realization. Therefore NO BODY would seek to harm NO ONE.

  • 66.
  • At 08:07 PM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

Post #58 is islamophobic nonsense. For those who want to know some more about what really happened on 9/11 please watch "9/11: Press for Truth" which follows the story of the "Jersey Girls" (9/11 widows who pressured for the creation of the 9/11 Commission) and Paul Thompson, author of the "Terror Timeline", amongst others.

See it free here:

(But also make sure to search out and buy a copy, the film-makers have bills to pay).

BBC2 should have shown this documentary not the discredited docudrama "Path to 9/11".

  • 67.
  • At 09:05 PM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • David Thomas wrote:

How could the demise of the Twin Towers be credited to "design flaws" and not terror? Who designs a building to take airliner impact from a huge A/C with a full load of fuel? Was the USS Cole a design flaw as well?

  • 68.
  • At 09:26 PM on 12 Sep 2006,
  • David Thomas wrote:

You conspiracy idiots are so obviously insane. Some say, "there were no planes, but bombs." If that's the case, what happened to the planes, and what happened to the people? To others who say the President and others knew about the attack and let it happen, I say to you that line of thinking is even more ludicrous. Why hasn't a conspiracy been proven in Lee Harvey Oswald? Because there wasn't any. Every conspiracy known to man has been eventually exposed...with proof. Too many people know about the crimes, people talk. This blog is full of blowhards that couldn't possibly be a part of a conspiracy due to the love of the sound of their own voice, or reading their own typing. The hatred of George Bush has become outright slanderous. Now even his wife is "evil." Those of you who follow conspiracy theories, and that's just what they are, theories, wouldn't know a strong leader if he bit you in the arse. Bush became "evil" when he would not sign the Kyoto Treaty. Why? China would not abide by would annihilate third world economies, and seriously damage the economy of the United States. 90% of the energy used in the world is fossil fuel. We have to live with that. Al Gore is crazy...he doens't tell you we are just coming out of a 19th century mini-ice age, and yes the world is warming up...thank God. Find something else to wring your collective hands over, like your dwindling intelligence quotient.

In post #67 David Thomas wrote:

"How could the demise of the Twin Towers be credited to "design flaws" and not terror? Who designs a building to take airliner impact from a huge A/C with a full load of fuel? Was the USS Cole a design flaw as well?"

In exactly the same way the design flaws in the London Underground system were obviously responsible for bombs going off - nothing at all to do with some religious nutters. No, nothing at all!


What planet do some people live on?

  • 70.
  • At 12:04 PM on 13 Sep 2006,
  • Rick B wrote:

In my post #66 I was referring to post #59.

David Thomas in post#68 seems to be arguing with himself or imagined comments rather than responding to what anyone's actually said.

To him I say go and watch the documentary "9/11: Press for Truth" about the "Jersey Girls" (9/11 widows). No conspiracy theories, no strawmen arguments, just information and questions. When you've done that come back and we'll talk.

  • 71.
  • At 01:01 PM on 17 Sep 2006,
  • j w hadley wrote:

i have had no great interest in 9/11 until i recently saw 9/11 press for truth it has shocked and stunned me to my very core since then i have hunted down all the information in its original sorce and found it to be true this film and others have been viewed on the internet alone more than 4,000,000 yes four million times how long before my beloved bbc gives this subject the attention it so richley deserves


  • 72.
  • At 01:35 PM on 17 Sep 2006,
  • Steve Paine wrote:

RE: Dave Jones (post #15) there are several websites dedicated to debunking the myths of 9/11. Just search for "Debunking myths 9 11" in Google and you will find a plethora of websites which do just that.

You will soon realise that the conspiracy theories are based on consequential (and sometimes manipulated) evidence.

  • 73.
  • At 04:46 PM on 09 Oct 2006,
  • Graham wrote:

"You will soon realise that the conspiracy theories are based on consequential (and sometimes manipulated) evidence."

Is it not fact that no plane flew into WTC7? Is it not fact that WTC7 fell down in 6.5 seconds? (Freefall).
Is it not fact there were wargames going on on the morning of Sept 11th?

  • 74.
  • At 07:06 PM on 13 Oct 2006,
  • bob wrote:

A conspiracy theory is something that has no evidence to support it. As soon as some evidence has been presented with it then it becomes a conspiracy.
Just one question to all you government lovers, where's the plane that hit the pentagon? and how does it fit in such a small hole?

  • 75.
  • At 06:24 PM on 17 Oct 2006,
  • Petur wrote:

Me to didnt have any spesial intereste in 9/11 - more then understanding that it was a terible event - until I was presented with evidence that the official story must be falce. And it must surly is.
But: be avare that thers is a lot of missleading information going on, and many deranged people get into the "conspiracy" thing ...
Here are some points: It's not true that critics of the official story of 9/11 get debunket. Some get rightfully criticised, but the hole official 9/11 story is so easily disproven at every major point that you can not miss that fact if you look into it (and you have a attom of common sence).
The hole matter deserves mainstream media coverage, even if it would turn out to be bogus it did.
The 9/11 event deserves - demands - a propper investigation. No matter if it is a inside job or not, and it has not yet been investigated as a local bank-plot would be.
Noone has yet been legaly hold responsibl for 9/11, but realy a lot of people have been kiled ilegaly as a consiquense of it.
BBC, plis start doing your job in this matter. Start asking propper questions about it.

  • 76.
  • At 08:02 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Dale Broun wrote:

The book and DVD discussed and praised here are worthy sources for a serious discussion of what really caused 9/11. THE TERROR TIMELINE and "9/11 Press for Truth" deserve to be known as broadly in Britain as they are in the US. I encourage you good folks in the UK to recommend them to your local and university libraries there.

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