Hijackers still alive

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Some 9/11 theories are very controversial, even amongst those who believe the attacks were an "inside job". Suggestions that the hijacked planes didn't actually crash at the WTC, Pentagon or in Shanksville, for instance, provoke strong and passionate arguments on all sides. But other claims are far more widely accepted, with far fewer dissenting views, and the idea that some of the alleged hijackers are in fact still alive is a particularly good example.

The claim has plenty of support on the web, for instance, and not just at sites like What Really Happened, Rense and an article reproduced at Prison Planet. The more respected 911Research and CooperativeResearch also find the topic worthy of coverage. And the Second Edition of Loose Change claimed that "at least nine" of the alleged hijackers "turned up alive".

The same story is repeated by several 9/11 authors.

In his book "The 9/11 Commission Report-Omissions and Distortions", for instance, David Ray Griffin tells us that the hijacker identifications have been "shown to be incorrect".

Karen Kwiatkowski, in Griffin and Peter Dale Scott's "9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out", reports that "several of the purported hijackers were found to be alive".

Jay Kolar, in Paul Zarembka's "The Hidden History of 9-11-2001" states definitively that "10 of those named by the FBI have since turned out to be alive, documented as such by authorities and interviews with those named". And Nafeez Ahmed appears sufficiently convinced by Kolar and perhaps others to say that "It is now known that at least 10 of the 19 alleged hijackers are alive according to multiple, credible news accounts by the BBC, CNN, the Telegraph, the Independent, and other international media." Source.

The "still alive" claim has a powerful list of supporters, then, and so you might expect it to be supported with a substantial amount of evidence. But then you'd be disappointed, because there is nothing of the kind. In fact the claim is only sustainable because not a single one of its proponents actually tells you all the details you need to know.

They tend not to dwell on the fact that all of these stories originated before the FBI released their full photo list on September 27th, for instance. They rarely point out this CNN report, released on September 16th, for instance, that identified the wrong individuals for Wail al-Shehri, Abdulaziz al-Omari and Saeed al-Ghamdi. These misidentifications caused those innocent people to come forward and say "it's not me, I'm still alive" - but they're not the individuals later identified by the FBI.

CNN report on YouTube

There's a detail often missing in references to the BBCs story on this issue, too. They've subsequently said it was all just confusion over identities.

You probably won't hear about the key differences between the alleged hijackers and the individuals who came forward after 9/11, either. The pilot Waleed al-Shehri who came forward after 9/11 has a different name to the hijacker, for instance. The Salem al-Hazmi who appeared in the press post the attacks is 26, the hijacker was 21.

And you're most unlikely to be told about all the evidence that indicates the FBI identifications are correct. The Saudi press reports from family members saying their sons have gone missing, for example. The inclusion of all 19 men in an al-Qaeda video, The Nineteen Martyrs. And the fact that Saudi Arabia have accepted all their citizens, as named by the FBI, were involved since February of 2002:

For more details, see our analyses of the most common "still alive" stories:

  1. Mohamed Atta still alive?
  2. Mohand al-Shehri still alive?
  3. Salem al-Hazmi still alive?
  4. Ahmed al-Nami still alive?
  5. Khalid al-Mihdhar still alive?
  6. Abdulaziz al-Omari still alive?
  7. Saeed al-Ghamdi still alive?
  8. Wail al-Shehri still alive?
  9. Waleed al-Shehri still alive?

And then ask yourself how such a flimsy theory could be accepted by such a large group of people. Google "confirmation bias" for one possible explanation, but in the meantime the reality is the "still alive" stories have very little support, certainly not enough to be reported as definitive fact. In our view a "mistaken identity" explanation makes far more sense for most of these cases, once you look at all evidence involved.


This 9/11 Commission document explains how the FBI confirmed that their hijacker photos matched the individuals they'd named. (This doesn't in itself prove anything, but it's interesting as a partial record of how identities were checked.)