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This is an interview of French author Thierry Meyssan, whose book "The Frightening Fraud" set off a hot debate in French-speaking countries on what really happened on 9-11.

The interview was conducted by Sina.com, the most popular Chinese language information website. Jean Delvigne translated it with the help of Chines colleagues. The original Mandarin text can be found on:


From our Paris correspondent:

French author Thierry Meyssan's bestseller on 9-11 "The Frightening Fraud" has caused quite a stir in Europe and numerous reports on the book and its theses have appeared even in the Chinese media. Why did Thierry Meyssan write this book in the first place? How did he go about his investigation? How convincing is his case? What does he think of the reaction of the mainstream media ? With these questions our reporter interviewed the polemical leftist author

Sina.com: How is your book doing? I guess you have been interviewed by many journalists?

Meyssan: In the first three weeks, 190,000 copies were sold, setting a new record in France. We now have a French version sold in France, Switzerland, Belgium and other French-speaking countries. Translations in a dozen other languages including English, Italian, Portuguese and Turkish are in preparation. Although the book itself has enjoyed wide media attention in the world and received extensive coverage in the French press, not a single newspaper has interviewed me yet. So you are practically the first journalist to talk with me. Only a Californian radio station and the American National Radio have interviewed me so far.

S: Why did you write this book ?

M: The first reason is that America is severely ill and needs healing. America used to be a tremendously attractive country, the embodiment of democracy, but since 9-11 that has changed. The idea of an "axis of evil" involving Iraq, North Korea and Iran poses a grave threat to world peace. Now this theory is a direct result of 9-11. I felt I had an obligation to investigate the September attacks and see whether the military campaign launched by the Bush administration was justified. One point I'd like to emphasize here is that I did not content myself with analyzing a handful of photographs of the Pentagon. I also examined a lot of material regarding the aftermath of the S-11 bombings, including many doubtful points related to the war in Afghanistan.

S: I hear your investigation team numbered more than twenty people;how did you go about your investigative work?

M: The first step was to elucidate the whole process of the 9-11 attacks. As everybody knows, when something extraordinary happens, after the first moment of panic, people will pull together and reach for emergency plans. For example, NORAD, the USAF and the FBI all know how to react in case a plane is hijacked. So the starting point of my investigation was to see if the main actors in the 9-11 tragedy had followed the script. I discovered that while most of them had followed the rules, some of them had not. Air Force General Richard Myers for example was unable to explain what he had done in the days following the hijacking. He is even incapable to remember whether he sent fighter planes to intercept the hijacked jetliners. Air Force General Eberhart, after hearing news of the New York crashes, scrambled interception planes without even bothering to consult the President, a grave breach of US rules that has never been commented upon.

We have contributors and informants in the US, Switzerland, Britain and Pakistan. Every time something happens in their respective countries, I contact them and ask them to do on the spot research. I also set up small groups of experts in France, each focusing on one aspect of the case. For the Pentagon we consulted architects, firefighters, commercial jet and fighter aircraft pilots, and lawyers. We asked them to give their informed opinion on the photographs.

S: The core argument of your book is that there has been a cover-up by the Pentagon. As we all know, the Pentagon is the nerve center of the American military and all things related to it are top secret information that cannot be disclosed to the public.

M: The Pentagon not only hides the truth, it also makes things up . You could object that the Pentagon bombing is America's business and foreigners have no right to meddle. But since the U.S. has used this incident as one of their arguments to launch an attack against Afghanistan and has asked the whole world to stand at its side in the war, this is no longer a purely American affair. If the Pentagon explosion was caused by something other than a jetliner, wouldn't that mean that America's allies have been conned into an unjustified war?

Regarding the mystery of the Pentagon plane, I can tell you the following: the Pentagon has its own automatic defense system. If a plane or something approaches the building it will fire a missile as soon as it reaches a critical distance. There is only one case in which this system would not respond: if the "plane" emitted a "friendly" signal. If for example the Pentagon were to fire a missile and this missile came back like a boomerang, it would not be destroyed. So you see, a commercial jetliner would stand no chance of coming near to the Pentagon.

S: The French press made several attempts to refute your arguments. You say: Do you see any debris? They answer: the impact was so violent the plane broke into pieces. You say: Nobody saw the actual crash! They retort: hundreds of people on the site said they saw a plane when interviewed by journalists!

M: Look at the photograph* on the cover of my book. It was taken just a few minutes after the explosion, incoming firefighters hadn't gotten off their cars and the upper floors above the damaged part hadn't collapsed yet. According to the explanation given by the DoD, a Boeing 757 hit the ground in front of the Pentagon and then slammed into the ground floor. When the plane penetrated into the building, the right wing was ripped from the fuselage and burned (in the picture you see two plumes of smoke, the right one should be the place where the wing of the plane was supposedly burning). Considering the weight of the plane, its speed and the amount of fuel it was carrying, nobody looking at this photograph would believe that this is the site of an airplane crash. Suppose you say "what if the actual point of impact is not visible in this photograph?" The trouble is, if you examine all the graphic material available, there simply cannot be another point of impact. What we see cannot have been caused by a crashing Boeing 757. It must have been something else.

Now let us turn to the eyewitness accounts. We questioned some of the people interviewed by Le Monde (a French newspaper). Some of them were on the Interstate highway, some were at the Pentagon metro station. The eyewitnesses allegedly said: "We heard the sound of a plane" and then "saw the Pentagon ablaze." What Le Monde wrote is: they "heard the roar of a Boeing 757". We asked these eyewitnesses what the sound of the plane was like. Some of them said: "Well, it was a high-pitched sound, like that of a fighter aircraft". Le Monde interviewed an eyewitness who had been interviewed by CNN on September 13, a certain Mike Walter. He allegedly said: "I saw a plane. " Now his original words were: "I saw something that looked like a missile with wings". We also found one of the eyewitnesses interviewed by Liberation (a French newspaper) Steve Patterson. He was reported to have said: "I saw a plane land on the lawn in front of the Pentagon and then crash into the building." Fine, he told us the same story but added : "It was a very small plane, like a private jet holding 8 to 12 passengers."

After writing my book, I continued my investigation (he shows me a recent book on state-of-the-art weaponry and points to one photograph). This is a new generation missile. As you can see, it has two wings, and it looks exactly like a plane; it is 4 to 9 meters in length. If a race car speeding at 200mph streaked by, what would you see? You wouldn't see anything clearly, would you? You would see a shadow and hear the sound of something thundering past. Now this missile can fly at a speed of more than 500mph. If it went past you, you would most probably think it was a plane.

French newspapers have been tearing down my book relentlessly. But they didn't even bother to read it and misquoted some passages from the interviews we conducted. Le Monde fired the first salvo. It published a whole page article just to tell its readers not to read my book. This is highly unusual for a French newspaper. Some of the media even accused me of having breached the journalistic ethics and of spoiling their "economic interests". What "economic interests"? As far as I know, a French newspaper (alluding to Le Monde) has decided to publish an English language edition in cooperation with the NY Times. I guess these are the "economic interests" I imperiled

S: You claim Osama Bin Laden is a CIA agent. This sounds very far-fetched, to put it mildly. If Bin Laden were a CIA agent, why didn't he put his cards on the table when the U.S started giving hot pursuit to him?

M: The U.S. didn't want to catch him at all! And this is the subtlest aspect of the whole "play". Michel Peyrard, the Paris-Match reporter who was detained by the Taliban for 25 days, in his book, describes Bin Laden's visit to his friends in Jalalabad (Afghanistan) after 9-11. Last November, when he left that city, hundreds of people gave him a warm farewell. His escort numbered more than 150 cars. How couldn't the American satellites see this grand farewell ceremony? How could the most powerful army on earth let him slip through its fingers? Not only is the U.S. unwilling to grab him, it even gives him wide "publicity" and enhances his prestige. Do you remember the Bin Laden videotape that was broadcast after 9-11? This material, which should have been broadcast on the Afghan TV, fell into the hands of CNN, which spread it to all corners of the world. If this is not a promotion campaign, what is it?

One point needs to be underlined here: U.S. plans to attack Afghanistan were ready before 9-11. The problem was to find a pretext for starting the war. That America was poised to invade Afghanistan even before 9-11 is no big secret, but what most people don't know is that the U.S. convened a meeting in Berlin with delegates from Afghanistan and Pakistan to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. The negotiations broke off in July 2001. The U.S. then made up its mind to attack Afghanistan in mid-September or early November. After the failure of the first conference, new meetings took place in Geneva and London, but this time no Afghan and Pakistani representatives were invited to participate. On the other hand, Koreans and Japanese turned up. The subject of these conferences was the post-war reconstruction of Afghanistan. In my book I mention these meetings briefly but I can provide you all the relevant information because we have witnesses. The Pakistan delegate was the former Pakistan ambassador in Paris. After 9-11, we sent an investigation team to Pakistan, and we interviewed him for one and a half hours.

S: You admit that the Twin Towers were destroyed by terrorists. Wasn't the destruction of the WTC towers sufficient reason to start the war in Afghanistan? What need had the Americans to invent the story of the Pentagon?

M: This, I wouldn't know, but don't forget that the attacks were not confined to the towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. There were other targets: the WTC 7 tower, which allegedly came down because of the previous collapse of the Twin Towers, but in fact was a secret base of the CIA. The White House Annex was also attacked and was destroyed by fire. But these momentous events didn't make the headlines. Everybody was led to focus on the Twins. At the same time many inconsistencies went unnoticed.

S: You said that one of the aims of your book is to defend "America's freedom and democratic values", but your book has gone largely unnoticed in the U.S. Isn't that a failure?

M: So far "The Frightening Fraud" has been distributed only in French-speaking countries but an English version is in preparation, and we intend to start a full-scale debate in America. At the same time I am trying to contact political figures from all countries of the world. I have asked the U.N. to set up an investigation commission to find out the truth about 9-11 and find the real culprits. Because the U.N. entrusted the response to the terrorists attacks to the U.S in its Resolution 1368, we need to go back to this resolution to figure out who are the people behind the bombings.

The American government has not commented on my book but is trying to prevent its publication in other countries. We bought the photograph on the cover of the book from a professional AP photographer. Now the U.S. government has bought all the copyrights, to make sure no photographs end up in private hands.

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