A University of St Andrews expert in terrorism has testified at the first hearing of the 9-11 Commission.
Dr Magnus Ranstorp delivered his testimony to an audience consisting of those whose lives were forever changed by the events of September 11th – survivors, representatives of victims’ families, members of Congress and the Governor and Mayor of New York.
Dr Ranstorp, Director of the University’s Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), was the only non- American expert to be invited to give evidence at the first hearing last week.
He said: “A year after the seismic events of September 11th, it is worthwhile to take stock of the many lessons learnt, successes and the challenges of the global anti- terrorism roadmap ahead.
“The events of 11th September marked a transition from terrorism as a form of low intensity conflict to mass destruction terrorism on an unprecedented scale felt and watched from around the world.”
The first hearing of the 9-11 Commission – also known as The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States – was held over 2 days last week (March 31st and April 1, 2003) in New York.
The Commission is a bipartisan body created by Public Law with the mission to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the events of September 11, 2001, including the state of American preparedness for, and immediate response to, the terrorist attacks upon the United States.
At the time of setting up the Commission in November 2002, President George W. Bush said:
“The Commission will build upon the work of the congressional joint inquiries to carefully examine the circumstances surrounding the attacks and the lessons to be learned from them. I expect that the Commission’s final report will contain important recommendations for steps that can be taken to improve our preparedness for and response to terrorist attacks in the future.”
The purpose of the hearing last week was to engage those whose lives were forever changed by the events of September 11th in a public dialogue about the Commission’s goals and priorities. The Commission also seeks to learn about work already completed and the state of current knowledge, in order to identify the most important issues and questions requiring further investigation.
After brief opening statements by the Commissioners, the audience heard from New York Governor George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, survivors, representatives of victims’ families, and members of Congress. On the second day, the Commissioners heard testimonies from experts on various topics related to September 11th.
Dr Ranstorp took part in a panel session ‘The Attackers, Intelligence, and Counter- Terrorism Policy’ alongside fellow experts Daniel Byman (Georgetown University), Abraham D. Sofaer (Hoover Institution) and Brian Jenkins (RAND).
The hearing, which was broadcast live on the internet, also heard testimonies from representatives from the Fire Department of New York, the US Army, the Port Authority and representatives of support groups: Families of September 11, Voices of September 11, September 11 Advocates and Families of Flight 93.
In Dr Ranstorp’s concluding statements, he said:
“The new terrorism represented by September 11th present special, new and urgent challenges to the West and the international community, especially to United States citizens whether at home or abroad. International counter- terrorism collaboration, within a strategic framework, is more than ever needed to confront the new dangerous contours of the al-Qaeda and transnational terrorism.
“This is not a ‘war’ on terrorism – it is a ceaseless struggle that will and should remain at the heart of protecting the Homeland nationally and its interests abroad. More than ever it is critically necessary to prevent and pre-empt terrorist cells – otherwise September 11th will repeat itself with potentially higher levels of lethality. It is a testimony of the great strength of New York City and the American people to overcome but never forget. We owe it to the victims, their families and their country to be ever vigilant in the face of this evil.”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Dr Ranstorp’s full testimony is available online at:: http://www.9- 11commission.gov/hearings/witness_r anstorp.htm
The 9-11 Commission: http://www.9- 11commission.gov
The Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence: http://www.st- andrews.ac.uk/academic/intrel/resea rch/cstpv/
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