You trip over one fundamental idiocy of the 9/11 conspiracy nuts — — the ones who say Bush and Cheney masterminded the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon — in the first paragraph of the opening page of the book by one of their high priests, David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor. “In many respects,”
The operative word here is “should”. One characteristic of the nuts is that they have a devout, albeit preposterous belief in American efficiency, thus many of them start with the racist premise that “Arabs in caves” weren’t capable of the mission. They believe that military systems work the way Pentagon press flacks and aerospace salesmen say they should work. They believe that at 8.14 am, when AA flight 11 switched off its radio and transponder, an FAA flight controller should have called the National Military Command center and NORAD. They believe, citing reverently (this is from high priest
They appear to have read no military history, which is too bad because if they did they’d know that minutely planned operations — let alone responses to an unprecedented emergency — screw up with monotonous regularity, by reason of stupidity, cowardice, venality, weather and all the other whims of providence.
According to the minutely prepared plans of the Strategic Air Command, an impending Soviet attack would have prompted the missile silos in
Did the British and French forces in 1940 break and flee a Wehrmacht capable of only one lunge, because of rotten leadership, terrible planning, epic cowardice, or … CONSPIRACY? Did the April 24, 1980 effort to rescue the hostages in the
It’s awful. My in-box overflows each day with fresh “proofs” of how the WTC buildings were actually demolished, often accompanied by harsh insults identifying me as a “gate-keeper” preventing the truth from getting out. I meet people who start quietly, asking me “what I think about 9/11”. What they are actually trying to find out is whether I’m part of the coven. I imagine it was like being a Stoic in the second century A.D. going for a stroll in the Forum and meeting some fellow asking, with seeming casualness, whether it’s possible to feed 5,000 people on five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.
Indeed, at my school in the 1950s the vicar used to urge on us Frank Morison’s book, Who Moved The Stone? It sought to demonstrate, with exhaustive citation from the Gospels, that since on these accounts no human had moved the stone from in front of Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, it must beyond the shadow of a doubt have been an angel who rolled it aside and let Jesus out, so he could astonish the mourners and then Ascend. Of course Morison didn’t admit into his argument the possibility that angels don’t exist, or that the gospel writers were making it up.
It’s the same pattern with the 9/11 nuts, who proffer what they demurely call “disturbing questions”, though they disdain all answers but their own. They seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant. Like mad Inquisitors, they pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, torturing the data â€“- as the old joke goes about economists — till the data confess. Their treatment of eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence is whimsical. Apparent anomalies that seem to nourish their theories are brandished excitedly; testimony that undermines their theories — like witnesses of a large plane hitting the Pentagon — is contemptuously brushed aside.
Anyone familiar with criminal, particularly death penalty defense — I had such an opportunity for a number of years — will know that there are always anomalies the prosecution cannot account for and that the defense teams can exploit, in hopes of swaying a jury either in the guilt or penalty phase of a trial. Time and again I would see the defense team spend days and weeks, even months, back-checking on a possibly vulnerable link in the evidentiary chain that could be attacked, at least to the all-important level of creating “reasonable doubt” in the mind of a juror. Expert witnesses would be imported at great expense â€“- unlike states such as
But minute focus of a death penalty defense team on one such weak link often leads to a distorted view of the whole case. I remember more than one case where, after weeks of interviewing witnesses at one particular crime scene, the defense’s investigator had collected enough witness reports to mount a decent attack on this aspect of the prosecution’s overall case. At least this is what I thought, hearing the daily bulletins of the investigator. But when, in such instances, the camera pulled back, so to speak, and I saw the prosecution’s whole case — chain of evidence, cumulative witness statements, accused’s own movements and subsequent statements — it became clear enough to me and, in that case to the juries , that the accused were incontestably guilty. But even then, such cases had a vigorous afterlife, with the defense trying to muster up grounds for an appeal, on the basis of testimony and evidence withheld by the prosecution, faulty rulings by the judge, a prejudiced jury member and so on. A seemingly “cut and dried case” is very rarely beyond challenge, even though in essence it actually may well be just that, “cut and dried”.
Anyone who ever looked at the JFK assassination will know that there are endless anomalies and loose ends. Eyewitness testimony — as so often — is conflicting, forensic evidence possibly misconstrued, mishandled or just missing. But in my view, the Warren Commission, as confirmed in almost all essentials by the House Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s, had it right and Oswald fired the fatal shots from the Schoolbook Depository. The evidentiary chain for his guilt is persuasive, and the cumulative scenarios of the conspiracy nuts entirely unconvincing. But of course — as the years roll by, and even though no death bed confession has ever buttressed those vast, CIA-related scenarios — the nuts keep on toiling away, their obsessions as unflagging as ever.
Naturally, there are conspiracies. I think there is strong evidence that FDR did have knowledge that a Japanese naval force in the north Pacific was going to launch an attack on
Of course it’s very probable that the FBI or US military intelligence, even the CIA, had penetrated the Al Qaeda team planning the 9/11 attacks; that intelligence reports — some are already known — piled up in various Washington bureaucracies pointing to the impending onslaught and even the manner in which it might be carried out.
The history of intelligence operations is profuse with example of successful intelligence collection, but also fatal slowness to act on the intelligence, along with eagerness not to compromise the security and future usefulness of the informant, who has to prove his own credentials by even pressing for prompt action by the plotters. Sometime an undercover agent will actually propose an action, either to deflect efforts away from some graver threat, or to put the plotters in a position where they can be caught red-handed. In their penetrations of environmental groups the FBI certainly did this.
Long before the Yom Kippur war, a CIA analyst noted Egyptian orders from a German engineering firm, and deduced from the type and size of equipment thus ordered that
Bureaucratic inertia and caution prevailed, until the moment came for decisive CYA activity. The nuts make dizzying “deductive” leaps. There is a one particularly vigorous coven which has established to its own satisfaction that the original NASA moon landing was faked, and never took place. This “conspiracy” would have required the complicity of thousands of people , all of whom have kept their mouths shut. The proponents of the “fake moon landing” plot tend to overlap with the JFK and 9/11 nuts.
One notorious “deductive” leap involves flight 77, which on 9/11 ended up crashing into the Pentagon. There are photos of the impact of the “object” — i.e., the Boeing 757, flight 77 — that seem to show the sort of hole a missile might make. Ergo, the nuts assert, it WAS a missile and a 757 didn’t hit the Pentagon. As regards the hole, my brother Andrew — writing a book about Rumsfeld and the DoD during his tenure — has seen photos taken within 30 minutes of Pentagon impact clearly showing outline of entire plane including wings. This was visible momentarily when the smoke blew away
And if it was a missile, what happened to the 757? Did the conspirators shoot it down somewhere else, or force it down and then kill the passengers? Why plan to demolish the towers with pre-placed explosives if your conspiracy includes control of the two planes that hit them. Why bother with the planes at all. Why blame Osama if your fall guy is Saddam Hussein? Why involve the Israeli “art students”.
The nuts simultaneously credit their targets — the Bush-Cheney “conspirators” — with superhuman ingenuity and grotesque carelessness. In Webster Griffin Tarpley’s book “9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in
The demolition scenario is classic who-moved-the-stonery. The WTC towers didn’t fall down because they were badly built as a consequence of corruption, incompetence, regulatory evasions by the Port Authority, and because they were struck by huge planes loaded with jet fuel. No, they fell because Dick Cheney’s agents methodically planted demolition charges in the preceding days. It was a conspiracy of thousands, all of whom â€“- party to mass murder â€“- have held their tongues ever since. The “conspiracy” is always open-ended as to the number of conspirators, widening steadily to include all the people involved in the execution and cover-up of the demolition of the Towers and the onslaught on the Pentagon, from the teams acquiring the explosives and the missile, inserting the explosives in the relevant floors of three vast buildings, (moving day after day among the unsuspecting office workers), then on 9/11 activating the detonators.
Subsequently the conspiracy includes the disposers of the steel and rubble, the waste recyclers in
Of course the buildings didn’t suddenly fall at a speed inexplicable in terms of physics unless caused by carefully pre-placed explosives, detonated by the ruthless Bush-Cheney operatives. High grade steel can bend disastrously under extreme heat. People inside who survived the collapse didn’t hear a series of explosions. As discussed in Wayne Barrett and Dan Collin’s excellent book Grand Illusion, about Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, helicopter pilots radioed warnings nine minutes before the final collapse that the
What Barrett and Collins brilliantly show are the actual corrupt conspiracies on Giuliani’s watch: the favoritism to Motorola which saddled the firemen with radios that didn’t work; the ability of the Port Authority to skimp on fire protection, the mayor’s catastrophic failure in the years before 9/11/2001 to organize an effective unified emergency command that would have meant that cops and firemen could have communicated; that many firemen wouldn’t have unnecessarily entered the Towers; that people in the Towers wouldn’t have been told by 911 emergency operators to stay in place; and that firemen could have heard the helicopter warnings and the final Mayday messages that prompted most of the NYPD men to flee the Towers.
That’s the real political world, in which Giuliani and others have never been held accountable. The nuts disdain the real world because, like much of the left and liberal sectors, they have promoted Bush, Cheney and the Neo-Cons to an elevated status as the Arch Demons of American history, instead of being just one more team running the American empire, a team of more than usual stupidity and incompetence (characteristics I personally favor in imperial leaders.) The Conspiracy Nuts have combined to produce a huge distraction, just as Danny Sheehan did with his Complaint, that mesmerized and distracted much of the Nicaraguan Solidarity Movement in the 1980s, and which finally collapsed in a
* Footnote: I should add that one particular conspiracy nut, seeing that Roosevelt’s grandson Ford — a schoolteacher in Los Angeles — was for a while, some years ago, on the board of CounterPunch’s parent non-profit, the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity — wrote an enormous onslaught on CounterPunch a while ago, “proving” to his own satisfaction that CounterPunch was a pawn of the Democratic Party, the CIA and kindred darker forces. I suppose the fact that CounterPunch attacked the Democratic Party and the CIA on a weekly basis was just one more example of our cunning in deflecting suspicion away from our true sponsors. The fact that from time to time that we also quite regularly attacked FDR — and posited his foreknowledge of