Sunday, August 28, 2011


In an eloquent response to my 9/11 essay below, Charles Simpson, a sociologist friend, seems to be arguing for an end to the 9/11 truth movement. His letter is not online, and is too long to be quoted in full.  But let me respond here by quoting a few sections which may give you as sense of his points.

Charles points to the "roadblock" that has frustrated all 9/11 truth seekers, the "room without an echo", and calls for "the next move", a "way out", engaging instead with "broader social movements", "face-to-face localism", and "alternative ways forward in the construction of meaningful lives" which will more likely resonate with American tastes, understandings of the world, and current conditions.

The irony of his call to leave 9/11 issues behind is the pessimism behind his suggestion.  Charles argues that people do not "want to go there" (9/11) because of a deep survival instinct towards optimism.  According to him, most people choose to avoid "the pitfall of despondency" that might threaten should one come to a realistic understanding of power relations in the capitalist world.

I find his hypothesis, however, too deeply pessimistic. The implication is that facts don't matter to human survival, that assembling evidence about important issues, even evidence packaged in "easy-to-digest" formats, can be a socially meaningless act, readily trumped by shoddy cultural misdirection.

I am not claiming that cultivating local gardens is unimportant, given the immanence of large-scale catastrophes. What I mean is that to give up hope for the rational component of human existence, is simply to give up hope.

Jung maintained that human consciousness was capable of four distinct functions: thinking, feeling, judgement, and intuition. To flee from such truths as 9/11 research may uncover is to give up two, if not three, of those capacities. I don't see how such emptying out can advance our capacity for survival.

The 9/11 research movement (my preferred term) wants to keep insisting -- in the face of much resistance -- that facts matter, that humans can reason on the basis of evidence, can intuit further directions for investigation, and can make judgements based on what is found. It may be pissing in the current wind, but eventually, the world must begin to smell the illuminating piss of alterity.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


The U.S. is now in six overt wars, droning, bombing, killing, starving people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya -- all illegal.

Obama’s justifying rhetoric turns, as did all of Bush’s, on the constantly whupped-up justification of “9/11”:

"We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women and children without regard to their faith or race or station. Were it not for the heroic actions of the passengers on board one of those flights, they could have also struck at one of the great symbols of our democracy in Washington, and killed many more.”

And so Obama needs 10K soldiers and “contractors” to fight the “less than 100 operatives” (Gen. James L. Jones, US National Security Advisor) left in Afghanistan, and their vague sporulations blooming worldwide. 9/11. The Global War on Terror. Or Obama’s “Kinetic Overseas Contingency Operations.” Not to mention secret prisons, justified torture and expanding surveillance in "the homeland".

Aside from the absurdity of proportion, the demonstrated ineffectiveness of the approach, and the barbaric “collateral damage” -- global and domestic -- accompanying it, the entire package is based on, justified by, and pitched via a most problematic “fact” -- the "official story" of 9/11, 19 Arab hijackers with boxcutters, etc.

Absolutely every one of the major and minor elements of this tale has been shown to be inconsistent with demonstrable physical events and surrounded with impossible and suspicious behavior.

After ten years of study, thousands of serious researchers in many technical areas can confidently assert the complete falsity of the "official story", along with slightly differing alternatives, diffuse along the edges, but solidly agreeing at the core: the "official story" is completely impossible, and a new, independent, supoena-empowered investigation must be conducted to examine the contradictions, and answer the questions raised by 9/11 truth groups: Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Medical Professionals for..., Scholars for..., Physicists for..., Intelligence Professionals for..., Firefighters for..., Pilots for..., Political Leaders for..., Lawyers for..., Religious Leaders for..., Media Professionals for....

These are not "tin hats" "conspiracy nuts", or "crackpots" as culturally labeled. Google any of their websites, and see the facts and discussions enabled by their collective expertise. Vast amounts of material has been available online since the first explorations and organizations debuted eight or nine years ago.

And yet the same, tired, much-wounded story continues to justify the exercise of our killing machines, military and financial, around the globe -- including here at home where our own population is being starved of humane goods and services.

The 9/11-justified “war on terror” (by whatever fancy name Obama chooses to call it) remains the be-all and end-all of our secure existence -- all action based on a set of demonstrable, manipulated falsities. The media has enshrined the official story; any challenge to it -- at least in this country -- is off the table of the public mind.


The earliest researchers simply noted the contradictions of story and fact:

-- Plane crashes leave wreckage. The one at the Pentagon left only a few scraps -- none related to a 757.
-- The initial hole in the outer wall of the  Pentagon was not large enough to accommodate a 757; the grass leading up to the wall was unscathed; windows were unbroken, and although the official story has the wreckage "vaporizing" because of the extreme heat (including the titanium steel engines that burn the fuel), neighboring rooms contained wooden desks and paper books -- unvaporized.
-- Steel frame buildings had never before collapsed from fires burning much more fiercely and longer than those in the twin towers. The collapses were at free-fall speed, demonstrating the removal of all supporting structures.
-- Building Seven, a 47-story office block, collapsed in the late afternoon without being hit by planes or demonstrating significant fires.
-- There were no bodies and no wreckage at all found at the purported site of the "Let's roll" heroic self-sacrifice crash of the Shanksville plane.
-- Cell phone calls describing the now-mythic events on board the hijacked airliners were not possible in 2001.

Beyond these prima-facie physical contradictions, quickly and easily noticed by any open eyes were a host of behavioral oddities:

-- the apparent stand-down of the NORAD air defense system, charged with scrambling fighters and protecting US air space.
-- the scrubbing of initial reports on all TV networks concerning explosions and demolitions.
-- the odd behavior of the president and the secret service at a grade school.
-- the immediate FBI confiscation of all videotapes from cameras inside and outside the Pentagon.
-- the BBC news report -- 20 minutes before it happened -- of the collapse of Building Seven.
-- the prompt illegal removal of all evidence from the crime scenes.
-- the flight-training history of the purported hijackers.
-- the resistance of the Bush administration to an official investigation.
-- the hand-holding, secret testimony of Bush and Cheney concerning the events of the day.
-- finally, the appointment of an investigatory commission run by an administration insider who chose what evidence would be presented and what excluded from the official report.

In The New Pearl Harbor (2004), David Ray Griffin listed the contradictions, and considered the implication that our own government was complict in the events of 9/11, and not a mere victim -- either of intelligence failures or incompetence. In a nuanced discussion of complicity, Griffin distinguished eight possible levels, from simply lying about events to maximize political effects, through intentionally allowing expected attacks, to actual involvement in planning them. At the time he did not make specific accusations, or even hypothesize a "true" version of what happened. But he did challenge people to undertake unflinching investigations of all the contradictions, with clear reporting of results, and most difficult, courageous drawing of conclusions, no matter how "unthinkable" or outrageous they may appear.

Over the next seven years, research communities responded: interested individuals and the professional organizations listed above brought their expertise to the problems. Structural forces, melting points, evidence of explosives, aerodynamics, photo and video forensics, witness testimonies, and many other angles were explored in detail, and all information made public online at the various sites.

But ten years and many Bush/Obamaogenic catastrophes later, people still refuse to confront the ever more abundant evidence.

Let’s take only the single most obvious strangeness: Building Seven collapsing without planes or significant fires. Curious? But somehow not so curious as to arouse curiosity. You’d think folks might get the hint that something was up.

However, talking with many news-aware friends over the years, I’ve found that very few had even heard of Building Seven. When I mentioned it was a classical example of a controlled demolition, I would almost always get exactly the same response:

Gesture: Elbows bent, both hands up to shoulder level, palms out. Followed by
Sentence: “I’m not going there.” One woman added: “I don’t want to live in a world where such a thing is possible.”

Any further talk of details got those hands moving, flapping outward from the shoulders, go away, “I really don’t want to go there.”

All those who have put many hours into reading books and scholarly papers, exploring photos and videos -- guess what…they’re all—all— nuts, crazies, lunatic fringe not worthy of media or political discussion. Cass Sunstein, Obama's Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has written extensively about the need to "cognitively infiltrate" such truth groups, to interrupt and correct their false thinking. Even the prominent lefty analysist have refused to cover, much less feature, the results of so many person-hours of research, and all assume the official story to be true in their articles on blowback from the evils of American imperialism. They too just won't "go there."
What an enormous and pervasive need-not-to-know.


Albert Einstein once noted that “Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.”  Interesting choice of qualities. Something non-intelligent certainly seems to be ruling the world. Einstein's trio may go partway toward explaining the need of not-knowing.

Stupidity? The grand narrative of American Realpolitik?  “Too complicated for me.”  When you put that sort of thing together with most people not knowing much about history, or geography, or math or science, it does add up to a semi-dysfunctional stupidity endemic in the population, annually measured and bewailed.

But as Chomsky points out, this is not native stupidity, but stupidity engineered by the system. People are plenty smart on the street, he observes, or concerning the statistics of sports. But intelligence about history or politics is not encouraged. “Best to trust the experts.” (Chomsky takes no blame for being one of the engineers of 9/11 stupidity.)

Fear. The fear factor is obvious, a major tactic of all authoritarian institutions, from elementary school to Guantanamo.  The more one knows, the more there is to be afraid of.  Like possible administration complicity in 9/11?  Best not to know.

Greed may be what drives it all.  Why is America afraid?  In large part because it has it and they want it.  Share equitably?  Forget it.  The best way to avoid guilt is not to know -- not to know other languages, international dynamics, the ecological state of affairs, who the criminals are. Not to know the misery greed creates. Our need not-to-know is urgent.

Ten years later, some people know a lot more. Most don't want to.