Jan 22, 2010

Tun Mahathir persists with 9/11 conspiracy theories

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad continued today with his claims that the 9/11 attacks in the United States were staged. He now suggests that the collapse of the World Trade Center and surrounding buildings in New York nine years ago was the result of controlled demolition.

His remarks, published in his blog today, backs conspiracy theories put forward by fringe groups, and comes just days after he had also said that the Holocaust had failed as a final solution against the Jews.

“It is of course a fact that the two towers were destroyed after two aircraft crashed into them,” he said in reference to a speech he made on Wednesday when he said that “if they can make Avatar they can make anything.”

“A lot of people in America (the apologists will dismiss them as conspiracy theorists) questioned whether the towers collapsed because the planes crashed into them or that something else caused them to come down. These people have reproduced videos taken by media people showing the attack and the collapse of the towers, pointing out certain peculiar features. I have seen the three-hour long video which is widely distributed.”

He argued that the collapse of the twin towers was typical of controlled demolitions which are common in the United States.

In his posting, he also provides a link to a video on the Internet which is based on a book written by a conspiracy theorist who claims that elements in the US government had staged the attacks.

The former prime minister’s decision to lend his weight to such theories appears to be part of his campaign to highlight the plight of Palestinians, a cause which he has championed since he was still in government.

But by targetting the United States, in suggesting this week that the 9/11 attacks were staged as an excuse to mount attacks on the Muslim world, he could pose some problems for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the latter’s efforts to develop better ties with Washington.

In his posting, Dr Mahathir reproduces a number of claims and allegations which have been rejected by engineers and other investigators, including how the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon was never found.

The former PM, who still retains significant influence among conservative Malay-Muslims and Umno members, also claimed that he met a janitor who worked in the twin towers and who had told him of explosions unrelated to the plane crash.

“As I said in my speech I am not so certain now that the Arab ‘terrorists’ hijacked four commercial aircrafts simultaneously and flew them into the twin towers, the Pentagon and somewhere unknown .

“Some people have condemned me for doubting that the attack was mounted by Arab Muslim terrorists. Perhaps one of the television stations would care to air the videos mentioned without censorship.”

At a separate press conference today at the Islamic Arts Museum, Dr Mahathir scoffed at suggestions that Malaysia’s attempts to attract foreign investments would be dampened as a result of his controversial comments about Jews.

“During my time (as Prime Minister) I was nasty about the Americans. And I was branded anti-Semitic too. But even then we still obtained FDIs,” said Dr. Mahathir.

The former PM also asserted the fact that Malaysia cannot depend solely on FDIs and should, instead, build up its own economy.

“There is a fear among people to say anything political of this issue... especially when we are accusing a government of a very powerful country of doing something wrong.

“Don’t forget they (even) told lies to go to war,” said Dr. Mahathir.

He also rebuked a reporter for suggesting that his comments could be viewed as insensitive given the current racial tension within Malaysia itself.

“Why is it the worst time to talk about this? Why should you call it racist? Does Malaysia’s race problems have something to do with the Jews?”

He laughed at suggestions that this was a cheap publicity stunt on his part.

“What do I gain from a publicity stunt? I’m not going to run for Prime Minister again...well, that is, unless you want me to,” said the former prime minister in jest.

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