Friday, March 25, 2005

Good piece on skepticism on government's account of 9/11 attacks

The San Francisco Bay Guardian has a good, fair piece on the 9/11 attacks and the determined group of people that are challenging the official story. It is difficult to believe that the most secretive federal administration in modern memory told us the full, official truth about the 9/11 attacks -- especially given the lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. If you've harbored doubts that we know the full story about the attacks, but have no idea what actually happened (just criminal neglect from our military and intelligence that they couldn't have stopped this attack -- especially the third or fourth plane?), read this piece.

I have no idea what happened, but I doubt I've been told the full story. Remember, the hawks had been publicly calling for a "new Pearl Harbor" to galvanize public support for an invasion in the Middle East since the mid 1990s.

And on conspiracy theories -- the only way to describe the 9/11 attacks is a conspiracy theory. Steven Jones writes about this well in the Bay Guardian cover story. Here is an excerpt:

The Bush administration offered its conspiracy theory while the buildings were still ablaze, has done little since then to deviate from it – and has done almost nothing to prove its veracity beyond a shadow of a doubt.

It goes like this: Nineteen fanatical Muslims conspired with Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders to plan and execute the hijacking of four commercial airplanes using box cutters and the element of surprise, and to fly those planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and probably the White House.

Three of those planes hit their targets with pinpoint accuracy before the U.S. military could react – two of them causing the most catastrophic structural failures of steel skyscrapers in history – while a passenger rebellion in the fourth airplane forced the hijackers to crash it into a Pennsylvania field. All this was unexpected and couldn't have been prevented. The attacks were an act of war launched by a well-organized and well-funded international terrorist operation.

To believe this theory, you must accept that, despite receiving an unprecedented flurry of intelligence warnings about imminent terrorist attacks on the United States, the military was caught so off guard that it couldn't even pull the commander in chief out of his elementary-school photo op or get fighter jets in place during the 34 minutes between when the second tower and the Pentagon were hit – even though everyone knew that the United States was under attack and that Flight 77 was known to have been hijacked and was being tracked on radar the entire time it barreled toward the nation's military headquarters. (Each of these facts is from the official 9/11 Commission Report.)

And you have to believe that the Bush administration cover-ups that came next – from denying information requests from the commission, Congress, and criminal courts to telling lies about its intelligence and actions – were entirely about avoiding political embarrassment or for some undisclosed national security reason, and that nothing more ominous (or related to the geopolitics of oil) was remotely intertwined with any of this.

You have to believe, in other words, that one of the most secretive and manipulative administrations in U.S. history is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth about an event it has aggressively exploited to implement long-standing and far-reaching political plans, from the USA PATRIOT Act to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

---and my favorite part of the piece, that really ought to give everyone pause---

It's absolutely true, for example, that the government's theory has never been subjected to the usual rigors applied to a case of mass murder. The government has never sought to have any of its evidence heard in a court of law. In fact, its refusal to make relevant witnesses and evidence available has caused the only successful 9/11-related prosecution – a German court's conviction of Mounir el-Motassadeq on charges of helping alleged 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta's terrorist cell in Hamburg – to be overturned on appeal last year.

Even Zacarias Moussaoui – an alleged coconspirator who acted suspiciously at flight school and was arrested by Minneapolis FBI agents the month before the attacks (agents who at the time told FBI headquarters they were "trying to keep someone from taking a plane and crashing into the World Trade Center," according to testimony to the 9/11 Commission) – has been ordered released by a judge because the federal government refuses to allow for his fair trial.

Congressional inquiries were obstructed and denied documents and testimony by the White House, yet even with a cursory review of the intelligence documents they could get, the hearings revealed the fact that the Bush administration had received dozens of urgent, credible warnings that the attacks were coming.

------

(DJW again). Before you react, read the article. One would have to be remarkably incurious to simply accept the government's explanation -- and there's a slight hint of authoritarian behavior by those who react with righteous disdain to people raising questions about the most significant political event of the last few decades.

11 comments:

BMc said...

Dan, I think you have too much time on your hands...

Anonymous said...

9-11, An inside job? - You better believe it.

The lesson of self induced terrorism as a means to seize the American population, or any population for that matter, and stoke them into a war frenzy, is a deep part of the game plan of the masters of George Bush Jr’s administration.

FightforJustice said...

This reminds me of the conspiracy theories about Pearl Harbor. For you youngsters, it is the theory embraced by a few respected historians that FDR provoked an attack from Japan to get an isolationist US into WWII via the back door. And that evidence pointing to the attack on Pearl was ignored and warnings to commanders on the scene weren't sent.

Anonymous said...

This post, together with the article it references, is so stupid, it drools. And not only is it stupid, its also grossly offensive. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

NK

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

You'll have to do better than that NK. What's so offensive about it? The libertarian doesn't like it when people question the government? A citizen should be *ashamed* to question the government? That's an odd stance for a libertarian to take.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why you're labeling me a libertarian, or why its relevant.

You seem to confuse your right to question the government with your right to be taken seriously. When you present an argument without any supporting evidence and in contradiction to an enormous amount of actual evidence to the contrary (summarized very well in the form of the 9/11 Commission Report, which is available at any bookstore - I assume you haven't read it), you deserve to be called an idiot. Furthermore, your argument (something along the lines of, "they're so evil, they must have done it on purpose"), is little more than an hysterical projection of your own ideology.

Your argument deserves about as much respect as someone who complains that the flouride put in his drinking water by the CIA is sapping his precious bodily fluids. Except that what you're doing, without the actual balls to say so directly, is accusing one or more people of murdering several thousand of their fellow citizens without any evidence at all. Which means what you're doing isn't just stupid, but also shameful.

But feel free to question the government all you want.

NK

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Another "NK" is a frequent libertarian poster -- it's difficult to keep anonynous posters straight. That's why I assumed you were my libertarian friend. And if you actually read my post, you'll see I made no argument of the sort you try to pin on me. I said that I don't believe we have the full story from the Bush Administration. Their relentless pursuit of secrecy (Bush's stonewalling on the 9-11 Commission, refusal to testify publicly under oath, etc.) and their lies (see Iraq) leave me not trusting what they say. And why should we? Does that mean, as you clumsily suggest, that the only alternative theory is that President Bush intentionally allowed or ordered the attack? Of course not. And as you'll see if you actually read my post is that I haven't presented any argument like that at all. I've simply noted in my post -- as did the Bay Guardian article -- that there are many disturbing examples of government secrecy surrounding the attack, led by the most secretive presidential administration in recent memory. And patriotic citizens ought not rest until every possible question is completely fleshed out. You might believe everything the Bush Administration has told you. I don't. We ought not rest until every possible question raised is answered -- and we definitely shouldn't permit posters like yourself who throw around personal insults and try to put absurd accusations in the mouths of those who note the secrecy of the Bush Administration to silence our voices.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Another "NK" is a frequent libertarian poster -- it's difficult to keep anonynous posters straight. That's why I assumed you were my libertarian friend. And if you actually read my post, you'll see I made no argument of the sort you try to pin on me. I said that I don't believe we have the full story from the Bush Administration. Their relentless pursuit of secrecy (Bush's stonewalling on the 9-11 Commission, refusal to testify publicly under oath, etc.) and their lies (see Iraq) leave me not trusting what they say. And why should we? Does that mean, as you clumsily suggest, that the only alternative theory is that President Bush intentionally allowed or ordered the attack? Of course not. And as you'll see if you actually read my post is that I haven't presented any argument like that at all. I've simply noted in my post -- as did the Bay Guardian article -- that there are many disturbing examples of government secrecy surrounding the attack, led by the most secretive presidential administration in recent memory. And patriotic citizens ought not rest until every possible question is completely fleshed out. You might believe everything the Bush Administration has told you. I don't. We ought not rest until every possible question raised is answered -- and we definitely shouldn't permit posters like yourself who throw around personal insults and try to put absurd accusations in the mouths of those who note the secrecy of the Bush Administration to silence our voices.

Anonymous said...

If you don't subscribe to the views expressed in the article (which are explicit in suggesting that the Bush administration allowed or ordered the attacks), you ought to be a little clearer. And what are we to make of statements like, "I have no idea what happened, but I doubt I've been told the full story. Remember, the hawks had been publicly calling for a "new Pearl Harbor" to galvanize public support for an invasion in the Middle East since the mid 1990s." Do you really have no idea what happened? Did you not believe the 9/11 Comission report? Did you not believe certain parts of it? What, exactly, are you getting at with the Pearl Harbor comment?

I apologize if I offended you or imputed views to you that you don't hold. But the notion that you're just asking searching questions and looking for the truth comes across as naive. I'm all for skepticism, and perhaps extra skepticism is warranted with this administration. But skepticism in the face of extensive investigation suggests you're not just looking for the truth, but that you already have the truth figured out and you're looking for matching facts.

The more legitimacy given to the sort of people profiled in that article, the more people will ignore the otherwise valid points of people who refuse to repudiate them.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

I'll tell you the parts of the 9-11 Commission I don't believe -- those parts that the Bush Administration didn't tell them. Aren't you at all offended by their stonewalling? Skepticism in the face of unreasonable stonewalling by the Bush Administration doesn't suggest that I know the facts -- I made it very clear that I *don't* know the full story. And the Pearl Harbor comment should chill you, as much as it chills me, because this is exactly the justification that the hawks were looking for to reshape the Middle East with an invasion of Iraq. The article, by the way, did an exceptionally fair job (in my view) of presenting the views who do believe that some high government officials did have some inside knowledge of the attacks, without endorsing those views. I think we should be less concerned about repudiating views than about airing them -- that's the healthier democratic instinct, I think.