On the strange difficulty of getting journalists interested in solving a crime. An experience report

A balmy summer evening. The lobby of the expensive hotel behind the dune is hardly filled. Sitting opposite me is jochen thies. The 67-year-old was helmut schmidt’s speechwriter, head of the german government’s foreign policy “world” and member of the editorial board of deutschlandradio. A mutual acquaintance introduced us to each other. We talk about america and 9/11. Thies has read my book on the subject and asks me about my further professional plans. I reply that i am still working on 9/11. Thies thinks an inside job is out of the question. He thinks i should get to know the usa better. He has good contacts and could possibly arrange a journalistic scholarship for me there. Then i saw everything with different eyes.

I reply that he could help me more in another way and tell him about my difficulties to interest journalists in contradictions of the official theory. If he could perhaps establish contact with a colleague in this matter? I mention the insider trading shortly before the 11. September and the 2011 study by finance scholars at the university of zurich that suggests the latter.1 the study has far-reaching implications: apparently there were people who monetized their foreknowledge of the attacks on the borsens. The bets on falling prices of certain companies ran through rough banks. Everything is documented. And yet the names of those involved are kept secret to this day.

Thies waves me off. He does not believe that. To my reply that it is a scientific analysis based on real bank transaction data, he answers again: “there are many studies. I do not believe it.”

There it is again: the 9/11 thought blockade – well known to me from dozens of conversations. “If you were a serious journalist”, i add provocatively, “you have now asked me to show you this study so that you can see it for yourself.” but thies is already not reacting. The ie is off the table for him. “Do not get lost there”, he tells me amicably at the parting.

So the conversation has already stopped before it began. I experience the same in my correspondence with elmar theveben, the long-time usa correspondent and current deputy editor-in-chief of the zdf (german television). In 2011, the 45-year-old himself presented a book on 9/11, in which he also deals with some alternative theories. Theveben believes that the only point worth investigating further is the insider trading that took place before 9/11. In his book he speaks in this context of a “residual suspicion”, who remains.2 therefore, i also point him to the study of the professors from the university of zurich. This is exactly the receipt that his “residual suspicion” truncates. But theveben remains silent. While he had written to me in a friendly manner the year before, read my book, and found it “exciting in the synopsis” to have found, there is now no more answer from it.

My third attempt goes to holger stark, 41, head of the berlin office of the “mirror”. Stark has repeatedly written on 9/11 and has a reputation as an investigative journalist with his critical research, such as on the saudi tank deal or the submarine deliveries to israel. In the past, he has occasionally answered my inquiries, but this time he joins his zdf colleague – and remains consistently silent.

Also in the academic milieu the thematic blockade of thinking seems to be firmly rooted. Professor bernd greiner of the renowned hamburg institute for social research, for example, published his own book on 9/11 in 2011, in which he writes that all alternative theories have been clearly refuted, and that insider trading prior to 9/11 was merely a “cover-up” “adventurous claim”3 a request from me, however, to engage in a public debate on this matter, he rejects with polite words.

Finally, i turn directly to professor marc chesney, one of the authors of the swiss study on insider trading before 9/11. Chesney is a busy scholar. In the interview with me he emphasizes to abstain from all speculations. His study, which is based on several years of work, takes a broad approach. It shows methods that can be used to detect possible insider trading in options transactions in general. The dubious deals in the run-up to 9/11 serve as a prominent example – among others.

The professor emphasizes that his study does not legally prove insider trading before the attacks, for that the buyers of the options had to be known first and given the opportunity to explain themselves. But chesney also says that the specific criteria for insider trading that he developed with his colleagues for the study (the volume of put options traded, the size of the profits, the comparison to the trading volume of the underlying stocks, etc.) are not the same as those used in the study.) point to a dubious deal in the case – and make a new investigation seem not only justified but even necessary.

Finally, i ask the professor about the public reaction so far to his research findings regarding 9/11. And learn that, except for two mentions in the french financial newspaper “les echos” and an article in the asia times so far no one in the media has taken any notice of it. Most journalists, according to chesney, apparently find the subject too sensitive.

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