September 11th

Today is the 16th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, a series of events that have so many anomalies, and have had such dreadful consequences, that it’s difficult to know where to start. I suppose we could start with Thierry Meyssan, a respected French academic, who in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the Pentagon was the first person to ask: where is the plane? Meyssan’s book about the Pentagon attack became a bestseller in France in 2002, and could be said to be the first major 9/11 conspiracy theory. Of course, a plethora of other conspiracy theories have followed over the years (my favourite is by Dr Judy Wood) and there’s continuing vicious infighting between the various ‘Truthers’ as to how 9/11 was actually done. The events of September 11th 2001 were very complex, with lots of different things occurring. You don’t need to be able to explain it all to show that it was an inside job (it will probably be a long time, if ever, before we find out what really happened on that day), and you don’t have to concentrate on the twin towers. All you need to do is show that one aspect of it is not as it appears, and then the rest of the official 9/11 story falls to bits like a house of cards. I would say that the best smoking guns are the Pentagon attack, the strange collapse of WTC 7 later that day and then the anthrax attacks a week or so later.

But I’m not going to get into all that now. Instead I shall use this anniversary of 9/11 to shamelessly plug one of my books: The Iberian Job is my third memoir and covers the years 2000 to 2007. The following excerpt from the book relates what I was doing on September 11th 2001:
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Due to the bottlenecks and increasingly awful traffic in London, I used to do most of these surveys on a bicycle. Home was Catford, in south east London, about 8 miles from the West End; 30 minutes on a bike, as much of it as possible through parks and pedestrian walkways. Yup, I was one of those cyclists from hell: no helmet, no lights, ignoring red lights, whizzing along pavements and going in the wrong direction on one-way streets. The cycling was one aspect of living in London that I enjoyed. People come from all over the world to see landmarks such as Tower Bridge, St Pauls Cathedral, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, and all the rest of it. For me they were just an everyday backdrop to my working life.

On September 11th 2001, which was a Tuesday, I had to do an afternoon survey at a small office block across the road from Victoria Station. At just after 2pm I navigated around Parliament Square, heading for Victoria. As a cyclist from hell I always listened to a Walkman. News started coming through that a plane had hit the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York, where it was just after 9am. The thinking seemed to be that an accident had occured. My survey at the office block involved a few hours work. As I wandered around with a tape measure one of the on-site engineers told me that another plane had gone into the south tower. Terrorism. By the time I was cycling back through Parliament Square both World Trade Center towers had collapsed. There were loads of rumours flying around, one of which claimed that there were hijacked planes heading for the UK Parliament building. I jumped a few more red lights and made my way south over Westminster Bridge. They cleared the airspace over London. It was the first time I’d ever seen my hometown in the day without a single plane in the sky.

At the end of these cycle surveys my first port of call would always be the Clock House pub on Peckham Rye, a friendly and traditional hostelry located most of the way back home to Catford. The Clock House not only did a good pint of beer they also did excellent steak and chips, much needed after all the cycling. On that September 11th I got there at about half five in the afternoon. Upon ordering my pint the first person I encountered was a guy with an American accent. He hadn’t heard the news and when I told him about the events in New York he looked at me as though I were mad. In fact he laughed at me. I told him to go find the nearest tv set.

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The Iberian Job is available as an e-book or a paperback from Amazon and from most other online stores.

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