Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Ketcham’s Story

and JEFFREY ST. CLAIR

In this special report we print a carefully reported narrative by Christopher Ketcham. He’s a journalist whom publications such as Harper’s and Salon.com have been happy to publish. Indeed, it was in May of 2002 that Salon featured on its site a 9,000-word story by Ketcham on the so-called Israeli “art students” whose curious activities before 9/11/2001 around U.S. government offices and in locations in many cases identical to those frequented by the 9/11 hijackers had been the subject of much speculation.

In the fall of 2005 Ketcham ran across a short report in the Philadelphia Times-Herald about a 166-page memorandum written by a retired corporate lawyer named Gerald Shea. The memo, which Shea sent to the 9/11 Commission and the relevant Senate and House intelligence committees, reviewed all publicly known information about the activities of possible Israeli intelligence operatives working in New Jersey, Florida and elsewhere, and posed the questions: how much had the Mossad learned about the hijackers’ plans; what had they divulged to the agencies of the U.S. government?

These are not questions likely to receive an enthusiastic reception in the U.S. press or in Congress. Shea’s memo, which he sent to many major news outlets, received almost no coverage aside from that tiny story in the Philadelphia Times-Herald (written, it should be noted, by Keith Phucas, who broke the Able Danger story). After reading Shea’s full memo, Ketcham went back to the leads and sources he’d developed for the earlier piece for Salon. By May 2006 he’d completed an 11,000-word report for Salon. One hour before it was due to go up on Salon’s site, the story was killed. The word from inside Salon is that the top editors suddenly decided that there was nothing newsworthy about Ketcham’s report.

Anyone familiar with the verbal smokescreens sent up by a publication killing a story knows well two standard ploys: one is the last-minute assertion, often after weeks of enthusiastic editorial preparation, that “there’s really nothing new here”, that “it’s an old story”. The other is that the facts are so explosive, so fresh, that unusually explicit corroboration is required, demanding the reporter get multiple named sources and so forth. Salon’s editors obviously decided that an exposé with words like “Israeli spies” and “9/11” in the same headline was just too hot to handle. But in that case why wait to the last minute, after long hours of editorial work preparing the story for publication? They probably didn’t like to admit to themselves that were just not prepared to take heat for the story and that they simply got cold feet.

Ketcham took the story to a number of other magazines and got nowhere. Then, in the late summer of 2006 he took it to the Nation, whose editors said that yes, they wanted the story, but wouldn’t schedule it till after the crush of political coverage in the run-up to the November elections. The target publication date was December 8. At the last minute, the Nation pulled the piece.

When we first read it, we felt–and still feel–somewhat baffled at the difficulty this piece had in getting published. It’s a report that deals with substantiated events that demand explanation, starting with the van on the New Jersey shore and the Israelis who were seen cheering as the planes crashed into the towers, and who on the afternoon of 9/11 were arrested following an FBI alert.

It is not as though Ketcham is alone in probing the background and activities of the celebrating Israelis. Justin Raimondo, of Antiwar.com has been a pioneer in exploring this same series of events and questions and he deserves great credit for his spirited stories on the matter, which can be found on his site and in his concise and powerful book, The Terror Enigma. The Israeli connection has also been the topic of a fine piece of investigation published in The Forward in 2002. The Forward’s sensational discoveries were studiously ignored by the press. (“Old story.”, “unsubstantiated”) Similarly, the saga of the “art students” has been the object of careful investigation and broadcast pieces by Fox News’ Carl Cameron.

Yes, when it comes to Israel and the U.S. press we are familiar with obstructions to raising edgy topics. That’s why we’re glad we have CounterPunch, to welcome good reporters like Ketcham in from the cold.

ALEXANDER COCKBURN and Jeffrey St. Clair are the authors of End Times: The Death of the Fourth Estate.

See Also:

What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks? by Christopher Ketcham

The Kuala Lumpur Deceit: a CIA Cover Up by by Christopher Ketcham

 

 

 

More articles by:

Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail