Thursday, July 22, 2010

Response to Chip Berlet's paper, "Toxic To Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating"

by Ed Ciaccio

Chip Berlet’s 57-page paper, "Toxic To Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, & Scapegoating", provides a useful warning to progressives that the “conspiracism” mindset can lead to demonizing as well as scapegoating groups such as Jews and become a “tool of fear” which would easily be “ used by cynical demagogic leaders to mobilize a bigoted mass base”, as he says.

But, in lumping together all those such as Prof. David Ray Griffin, many family members of 9/11 victims, many scientists, engineers, architects and firefighters, and credible progressives  who all call for a true, independent, objective, thorough investigation of the events of the 9/11/01 terrorism as “conspiracy theorists” who blame Jews and imagine fantastic scenarios on that day, he not only does a disservice to those of us who are NOT given to such ludicrous fantasies, but also neglects the most important factor in a democracy: truth based on facts.

Unlike anti-science “faith-based” conservatives /creationists, progressives usually take science very seriously.  That’s why lumping Webster Tarpley, who attacks anthropogenic climate change, with Prof. Griffin, is both unfair and very misleading.

Here are the facts of 9/11/01 which Berlet never mentions but which progressives who call for a new, true investigation of 9/11 keep in mind:

1.   It took 9 months for George W. Bush to finally call for an investigation into 9/11/01, and only after extraordinary efforts by family members (such as “The Jersey Girls”) to persuade him.

2.   Bush then chose Henry Kissinger to head the 9/11 Commission, but Kissinger resigned after protests by 9/11 victims’ family members about his obvious conflicts of interest.

3.   Though former Governor (Republican) Tom Keane then officially replaced Kissinger, Philip Zelikow, who was strongly connected to Bush, Karl Rove, and Condi Rice, actually guided the Commission’s direction.

4.   Former Senator Max Cleland resigned from the 9/11 Commission charging it with a “cover-up”.

5.   The two co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton and Tom Keane, stated years later that they were lied to by the Pentagon.

See: "The White House Has Played Cover-Up"– Former 9/11 Commission Member Max Cleland Blasts Bush
Louis Freeh Charges 9/11 Commission Cover-Up
New Book Alleges 9/11 Commissioner Philip Zelikow Minimized Scrutiny of Bush Admin Failure to Prevent al-Qaeda Attack
The 9/11 Commission Doesn't Believe It: Why Do You?

6.   The Taliban who ruled Afghanistan on 9/11/01 offered to give up Osama bin Laden to a third party nation if Bush provided proof that bin Laden was behind the 9/11 terrorism.  Bush refused.  To this day, the FBI does NOT list the 9/11/01 terrorism as one of bin Laden’s many crimes because the FBI does NOT have strong enough evidence that he was involved.  See and Osama bin Laden, among the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives": Why was he never indicted for his alleged role in 9/11?

7.    World Trade Center Building 7, which was NOT hit by an airplane, collapsed into its own footprint at free fall speed (finally acknowledged by NIST).  See Left-Leaning Despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement: Do You Really Believe in Miracles?

8.    Evidence of nanothermite, an explosive used in controlled demolition, was discovered in WTC dust.  See Video: Danish Scientist Neils Harrit On TV: Nano-Thermite Behind Collapse of WTC Buildings On 9/11, Not Planes - 6th April 2009

9.   The following credible, respected progressives (among others) have doubted the “official conspiracy theory” contained in the 9/11 Commission Report: 
      Howard Zinn, in a blurb for 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out  (edited by Prof. David Ray Griffin), stated:
"Official versions of historical events should always be questioned. This book, dealing with 9/11 and much more, does just that, and from various points of view."

Mark Crispin Miller said, in 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out:

"For far too long, the very reasonable questions raised by 9/11 have been ignored and even ridiculed by America's press and politicians, who treat the subject with the sort of willful blindness that suggests a wish not to find out unpleasant truths. We, the people, therefore owe the editors of this important new collection our warm thanks for their intelligent and unrelenting work."

Ray McGovern, praising 9/11 and American Empire, said:
"It has long been clear that the Bush-Cheney administration cynically exploited the attacks of 9/11 to promote its imperial designs. But the present volume confronts us with compelling evidence for an even more disturbing conclusion: THAT THE 9/11 ATTACKS WERE THEMSELVES ORCHESTRATED BY THIS ADMINISTRATION PRECISELY SO THEY COULD BE THUS EXPLOITED [emphasis mine]. If this is true, it is not merely the case, as the Downing Street memos show, that the stated reason for attacking Iraq was a lie. It is also the case that the whole 'war on terror' was based on a prior deception. This book hence confronts the American people-indeed the people of the world as a whole-with an issue second to none in importance and urgency."
Paul Craig Roberts, a conservative and a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury during the Reagan administration, states about David Ray Griffin's book Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory, that:
"This new book destroys the credibility of the NIST and Popular Mechanics reports and annihilates his critics."
Jack Keller, emeritus professor of engineering at Utah State University and member of the National Academy of Engineering, said this about the book 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press by Prof. David Ray Griffin:
"This book describes in very straightforward and non-technical terms some major consistencies to the government's official story about the events on September 11, 2001. It points out many attempts in the 9/11 Commission's report to cover-up evidence... As an engineer, I am especially troubled by the cover-up of evidence relevant in the collapse of the three major World Trade Center buildings. I hope that Congress and the public will heed this call for a full and impartial investigation to determine what really did happen on that fateful day.”

10.   As of this writing, 1227 architectural and engineering professionals and 8853 other supporters including Architectural & Engineering students have signed the petition demanding of Congress a truly independent investigation. See

11.   The nine-year war on Afghanistan is now opposed by a majority of Americans, despite President Obama, Congress, and the corporate media. Because the 9/11/01 terrorism was the initial justification for this war, it is vital, more than ever, to finally have a true investigation of that day. See Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan?

Chip Berlet is correct to be concerned that “conspiracism” as the basis of political and cultural analysis is “toxic” to democracy, for the many reasons he spells out in his paper.

But even more toxic and fatal to democracy is the neglect of the full truth about a history-changing event.

Credible progressives in the 9/11 Truth Movement do not want to demonize Bush, or Cheney, or scapegoat Jews, or the Bilderberg Group, or theTrilateral Commission, or the Council on Foreign Relations.

We only want a thorough, rigorous, truly independent investigation of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, and then a complete follow-up wherever that investigation leads.

Without that truth, democracy here is a sham.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

  This website is designed to be displayed particularly at events where generally courageous people are in attendance. Many people reading these words have never been associated with the description, ”coward”.

I am sure many of you have shown greater courage than this writer ever has. This does not logically imply such courageous people are not acting cowardly on the issue in question. We are all relatively inconsistent.

The leadership of the US peace movement stands strongly AGAINST asking the hard questions about 911, the most central political event of our lives, unless, arguably, you were alive during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

It is almost impossible to find a critic of the 911truth efforts who does not use personal attacks over evidence and logic. Anyone who can politely critique our best evidence has my admiration. Do note evidence accumulates and a full examination at one time might come to a different conclusion another time.

Because evidence that Arab Americans should not be held responsible for 911 would weaken US support for war, it should not be suppressed. If bin Laden was in US employ up until 9/11, as former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds recently reported, suppression of 911 truth efforts must be reversed by all who seek peace.

I, David Slesinger, radicalized in during the Vietnam War, declare here and now that I am emotionally ready to do civil disobedience against left institutions. The emphasis will be on serving time in jail to touch the hearts of peace activists who cooperate in suppressing 911truth. The emphasis will be to self limit any disruption to be only minimally more than necessary to be arrested.

I consider most leftists have good hearts, making it easier to touch them.

I respect the left enough* that I wouldn’t be surprised if such civil disobedience could be completely avoided. I also do not expect to force an arrest,yet. If enough leftists come forward to engage me in the soon (We all get distracted by life. If you are willing to engage me call 443-682-8725, or email me at NOW to initiate contact.), civil disobedience might be greatly more restrained, or maybe curtailed altogether. If you’re too busy to fully engage me now, but would like to find time at some point, let me know that.

*I tell two stories from my antinuclear activism days explaining why I have such respect for left radicals.

Once in 1980, at an important meeting of the Coalition for Direct Action at Seabrook I was arguing in opposition to Stephe Prieston, one of the most respected activists involved. He made his point. I made mine. Then another brother I didn’t recognize made a point agreeing with Stephe. Stephe knew the brother did not have his facts straight. He corrected that brother’s error, thus declining to take advantage of the brother’s support. Most mainstream activists wouldn’t be as principled.

In 1982 (or soon after) Bonnie Raitt and now Congressman Jon Hall had to tour to pay of the Musicians United for Safe Energy debt. The debt was incurred because the rights to make a movie of the MUSE concerts was sold at too low a price. The Aballone Alliance house organ blamed Sam Lovejoy for the error. They argued he should have made the decision after more collective consultation. They did NOT accuse Sam of lying, stealing, or acting in bad faith. Please note Sam told me personally they wrote the piece I read without ever interviewing him. The point for me is that the left is much more likely to be self serving of some principle or misguided belief they hold to rather than personally self serving like so many liberals.


Why Propaganda Trumps Truth By Paul Craig Roberts

Left Progressive Media Inside the Propaganda Model
By Peter Phillips and Project Censored
In this study researchers at Project Censored explore the degree to which the propaganda model of understanding self-censorship extends throughout the media culture including left-of- center independent media organizations. We examine the deepening propaganda model pressures inside the corporate media and hypothesize the potential for these pressures to impact left progressive media in the US

Retired Canadian Peace Studies Dept Chair describes the process of becoming a 911 truth activist
Dr. Graeme MacQueen on "9/11 Truth: the Challenge to the Peace Movement"