Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Nation weakly trashes 9/11 skeptics

News and Commentary by David Caputo of Positronic Design

The Nation Magazine, one of my all time favorites and the very model for my own news magazine from "back in the day", is all-kinda squishy-washy about 9/11, and what really happened that day. They constantly rip the Bush administration a new one for all manner of the dreadful things they do, but they seem largely incapable of even QUESTIONING the official government line on 9/11 facts and figures, even when they blatantly contradict themselves.

Their most recent piece on this subject, Christopher Hayes' "9/11: The Roots of Paranoia" was typical of the genre, although politer than most. I offer my thoughts and commentary because I thought such a weak overall analysis should not stand unchallenged, especially by a long-time fan of The Nation.


Dear Nation Editors,

While I am somewhat impressed (compared to recent efforts from Alexander Cockburn) at the reasonable tone and interesting theoretical arguments of Christopher Hayes' article "9/11: The Roots of Paranoia", his analysis, sadly, still comes up wanting in many ways.

The article opens by citing a July 2006 Scripps poll which shows that 33% of Americans believe either LIHOP (let it happen on purpose) or MIHOP (make it happen on purpose) theories of US governement complicity on 9/11.

He's disturbed by these findings (although unsurprised by them, which I'll discuss later) because he detects no ferment among the masses that would correspond to knowing that the country is being led by mass murderers. This ignores, of course, the fact that it is undeniable that our government IS being led by mass murderers, as 100k - 600k victims of unprovoked international violence would attest. The question, it seems, is whether or not our country is led by mass murderers of Americans. (Not counting, of course, the 3000+ fellow citizens who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the tens of thousands of permanently maimed, on both sides)

A later poll is more instructive, I think, and speaks to why he thinks the first phenomenon is unsurprising.

Question: When it comes to what they knew prior to September 11th, 2001, about possible terrorist attacks against the United States, do you think members of the Bush Administration are telling the truth, are mostly telling the truth but hiding something, or are they mostly lying?

..........................Oct. 2006 ...May 2002

Telling the truth..........16%.......21%

Hiding something........53%.......65%

Mostly lying................28%........8%

Not sure.....................3%........6%

Source: The New York Times / CBS News
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 983 American adults,
conducted from Oct. 5 to Oct. 8, 2006. Margin of error is 4 per cent.

Now this new poll reveals that 81% (!!) of Americans believe that Bush administration is covering up either something or everything about 9/11. Notably, the portion that thinks the administration is "mostly lying" is up 20% since 2002. That's almost double the amount that think the administration is actually telling the full truth.

Americans' complete lack of confidence in the "Truthiness" of this administration is reflected in these overwhelming numbers. It's almost like: Q: "How can you tell when Bush or Cheney are lying?" A: "Their lips are moving."

C'mon, more than 80% think they're not being straight with us about the single biggest crime ever to happen on American soil. A crime that's led us into not just one but two wars of mayhem and cruelty almost beyond description. A shocking event that's led to the ritualized disembowelment of democratic institutions and civil liberties as the public has largely watched mesmerized, like a frog enjoying the hot tub.

One reason for the expansion of interest in 9/11 Truth and related research is not just Loose Change, which he cites with look-down-his-nose contempt for its low-budget, 20-something approach to purported debunking, but C-Span, which has broadcast several 9/11 Truth events, much to the pleasure of their ratings manager. Videos of these events have collectively gotten as much play as Loose Change, which has never been broadcast on national TV, let alone repeatedly.

One paragraph gets to the core of his argument:

This pattern of deception has not only fed diffuse public cynicism but has provided an opening for alternate theories of 9/11 to flourish. As these theories--propounded by the so-called 9/11 Truth Movement--seep toward the edges of the mainstream, they have raised the specter of the return (if it ever left) of what Richard Hofstadter famously described as "the paranoid style in American politics." But the real danger posed by the Truth Movement isn't paranoia. Rather, the danger is that it will discredit and deform the salutary skepticism Americans increasingly show toward their leaders.

OK, point by point.

  1. Wouldn't it make sense for a "pattern of deception" to logically lead people to think that if they'd lie in order to send thousands of Americans to their deaths, and kill hundreds of thousands of others, that they just might lie about the event that led them to do this?
  1. If you ever watched the excellent dissection of media fear projection featured in "Bowling for Columbine", you'd realize that "paranoia" has long been a central fixture of the American psyche. Paranoia about the Russians, the Communists, Anthrax (the mail), Snipers, Killer Bees and poisoned Halloween candy... you name it, we've been coached and coaxed to be paranoid about it. It's hardly the result of the burgeoning 9/11 Truth movement.
  1. The main point. After dismissing the spectre of paranoia he has just summoned (for effect maybe?), he says that 9/11 skepticism will "discredit and deform" the otherwise laudable skepticism that Americans are only just now starting to show any real signs of. Discredit to whom? Deform how? He doesn't say. You'd think if this was the "real danger" (a highly alarmist phrase), he's at least cite ONE example of how this might be true. Nope. We are left to our own devices to imagine how.

Moving on to the "raising questions" paragraph. Mr. Hayes cites a small number of apparent (he says perceived) physical anomalies that have attracted 9/11 researchers' interest, but offers no direct refutation of any of them. He ignores certain key facts, like the tower's free-fall-speed collapse, the pools of molten steel in the basements that persisted for months, and the even-officially-unexplained collapse of WTC-7, to make it seem like carefully analyzed events were merely a collection of vaguely-informed hunches. He mixes scientific analysis with whacko/provocateur assertions to smear one with the other, without differientating between them at all.

When he brings up the Reichstag fire, he purports that the majority of historians now share his view (no doubt appreciated by Nazi sympathizers) the a lone anarchist was really the architect of the crime. This is despite the fact that the Nazi's DID stage an attack on a frontier radio station in order to falsely claim that Poland had done it and officially launch WWII. A review of available scholarship would easily conclude that historians have actually developed NO consensus on the subject, other than the fact that the Nazis were most likely involved in some way.

He also makes no mention of the legal mechanisms the Nazis used in conjunction with the Reichstag fire that have eerie and haunting resonance today. The Patriot Act, obviously prepared long before 9/11 and designed to rip the heart out of what we had always considered "normal" civil rights protections, is our modern day "Enabling Act", a fact to which he makes no reference.

His "strongest" argument for his confidence in the Bush administration's theories about the events of 9/11 is presented next, in a one-paragraph, three-sentence oblique sideswipe of the quite outdated and already thoroughly discredited March 2005 Popular Mechanics cover article. Read Jim Hoffman's systematic dismantling of this report on WTC7.net if you think this report has any scientific merit. Using this report as the central foundation for his rejection of 9/11 scholarship demonstrates the lack of depth with which he has actually pursued his investigation. "Superficial" would be charitable, I think.

Of course, he then goes on to describe the 9/11 Commission Report as "something of a whitewash", but blythely moves on as if an obvious coverup involving a major mass murder was nothing to be concerned about. He mentions that Bush was only interviewed by the Commission in the presence of Cheney, but he fails to mention that they were not under oath, or recorded, or videotaped. Or that no commissioners were allowed to take notes and that the entire panel and staff had only three hours to meet with them, both. Is this what you at the Nation call "investigative journalism"? Sounds like conspicuous ignorance of inconvenient facts to me. Or was it just edited out to copy-fit the print edition? Just how much of a "whitewash" was it? He doesn't go into much detail, and ignores David Ray Griffin's authoritative book and lectures on the subject, lest it detract from his overall argument.

The rest of Mr. Hayes' article is pretty much a plaintive beseeching of the establishment media to take a more active role in resisting the tendency to print whatever the administration tells them, even when they know it to be a lie, cause "the people" are on to something and if they (the media) don't wise up they'll get the rabble all fired up and suspicious of everyone.

He posits two world-views, one credulous, one paranoid. I posit a third: thoughtful. Thoughtful as in imaginative, creative, intelligent, discerning, investigative, and wise. The 9/11 Truth Movement is not a "rabbit hole of delusion" as he would suggest. Indeed, those of us who insist that physics and chemistry follow strict laws, and that standard law enforcement investigative techniques and rules of evidence preservation should be used in all murder cases, and democratic openness and conflict-of-interest transparency should be the rule of the day in all major government operations would say that far from a "rabbit hole", the 9/11 Truth Movement is the most genuine example of citizen challenge to the forces of destruction around us.

Why is it that so many liberal/progressive publications and columnists have such a hard time seeing that?

Phillip Agee wrote in "Inside the Company" that the CIA had paid or blackmailed assets in almost every major news organization in almost every country in the world. For 25 years Lane Kirkland, head of the AFL/CIO, was actually a paid CIA asset. Is this what's going on here? Is someone on the company payroll? Does someone have some juicy dirt on y'all and is holding it over your heads?

That would at least make sense. This systematic failure to even look closely at the carefully reviewed and vetted research and the casting of insults and negative aspersions is more commonly the province of drug-addled right wingers like Rush Limbaugh. I bet it's the one thing that Rush and the Nation agree on, that 9/11 Truth folks are whacky kooks.

It's hard to understand all of this, but I'm standing my ground.

Come up with some better arguments or seriously investigate the reputable facts and research on 9/11 and see if you've actually been wrong on this one. The weak arguments presented just make the Nation look silly, and stupid. Far from 9/11 research "discrediting the left", it's just this kind of weak, unsupported blather that makes us all look like confused morons. Aren't you guys better than that?

I look forward to your reply,

David Caputo
Positronic Design



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Anonymous said...

From Springfield MA originally.

my disappointment with the left is long dating back to the 70s when a student at Zoo Mass.

More recently I have noticed the pattern of cover by the leftgatekeeprs after subscribing to Nation ,MO JO ,Regressive {ahem Progressive} ..

They bend our hearts with such stuff as the Black Coffe in Somali and its many injustices and the next Walllmart town or the horrors of sweat shops..YET they ignore the 2 stolen elections, Plamegate ,911 and the ever so tightening of the Police state under the bush cheny regime.Certain topics as Zionism and any links to 911 or JFK are quickly laffed at and demonized.
Th leftkeepers ridicule the challenging of the Bush version of 911 as worn out ..CT and worse.

The left has been as much a part of the crimes aginst the US Citizens as is the right.BOTH are a false cover for the elites and their global agenda of endless wars paid for by the Middle classes or whats LEFT of em.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, sir!

Dear David,

Read you answer to American Thinker(sic) and was quite pleased. Keep up the good work!

Sigh! I too was quite shocked and disappointed w/Cockburn's approach to 911. Taibbi's as well, I must say. However, I have run into this attitude even with several of my own friends who are anything but Establishment types. They keep saying things like, "Well, the construction of the Towers was shoddy." (which, BTW, I agree with). However, there are too many OTHER questions that simply don't fit neatly into that explanation.

Secondly, I'm shocked that there are so many putatively 'on our side' who simply won't entertain the idea that this corrupt bunch of bastards would do something like this or, having done so, could keep it essentially hushed up. Don't know about you BUT I feel it is relatively easy to keep something like this quiet because only a very few would actually know before hand of the totality of the scheme. And, it would not be difficult to recruit groups of people to carry out separate and distinct parts of the scheme without each group knowing of its own part in the masterplan or of other groups attending to other aspects. And, should you find out later what you had participated in do you think these people would be crazy enough to out themselves publicly only to be drawn and quartered? Well Duh!

Please keep up the good work, if we cease to question we will surely cease to be answered. And thanks for letting us know about the behavior of the old Smirky, I just didn't know they were 'that way'. Shame.


Anonymous said...

Dear David,

You are obviously very passionate in all of this -- and for the best of reasons, but I'm afraid we'll have to wait a while before all of the evidence and 'inconsistencies' can be looked at objectively from the more established media venues.
Don't worry - it WILL be looked at honestly, but it will be when the principals still in power are out of power or dead. Just like the JFK conspiracy -- it took a few decades to really look at that in a serious way and deconstruct the whitewash.
No one of any establishment notoriety dare question it just now. You play with fire, you get burned.
So now we're several years down the road and facing the grim prospect of another lost war and impending energy crisis and the attendant economic collapse. Hyper inflation will crush what remains of the so-called middle class. This crime will kill directly/indirectly more people than 9/11 did.
We have to solve our energy problems and get out of the Middle East, or there won't be a future to worry about how 9/11 will eventually go down in the history books.
The first step is to get these criminals out of power and right the ship -- if there is still a chance. Then history can judge them for the scumbags they are.

TotallyFixed said...

I just posted this comment on a blog that had an article that regarded Christopher Hayes' article favorably. I include it here as a general contribution to the discussion.

ref: http://laanta.blogspot.com/2006/12/truths-are-out-there.html

I appreciate your thoughts on this complex subject, but I had a different set of conclusions after reading Christopher Hayes' article. So much so, that I wrote my own article, pointing out what I thought to be the flaws in his.


I welcome civil discourse on these subjects at all times, agree or disagree with my opinion of what the evidence indicates.

This is not a game. Three thousand people died that day. Many more have died since from shrapnel, hot flying lead, depleted uranium, and asbestos dust.

Those of us who are unhappy with both the process and the tenacity of the official investigation should not be dismissed as people with nothing better to do, just getting fired up on the internet.

We're talking about mass murder.

We're talking about wholesale changes in the rules of law enforcement and surveillance.

We're talking long-cherished freedoms and legal protections suddenly eliminated

We've seen these laws passed in a panicky haste, "miraculously appearing" in the atmosphere of unexpected crisis, even though they were obviously prepared well in advance.

We're talking about obvious, blatant, and brazen deviations from the standard norms of evidence, documentation, and transparency in the investigation into this crime.

And that's what it is. A crime.

A massive, brutal, violent, and shocking crime of mass murder and property destruction.

A crime that killed hundreds of brave public servants, willingly risking their lives for two reasons:

1) It was their job, their mission, their duty, and their calling, and

2) Not a single one of them thought that there would be a catastrophic, total, and near instantaneous collapse of the building.

That's my problem. Tell the kids of the NYC firefighters that the killers of their parents have seen justice. Tell the widows that we've followed every lead, turned over every stone, faithfully investigated all significant disparities in sworn testimony, and subpoenaed all the relevant official documents.

I don't think you can. Not with a clear conscience. Not when the 9/11 commission refused to pursue or even discuss two thirds of the questions posed to them by the widow's committee that spurred the investigation in the first place.

You might not agree, but I hardly think I'm beyond the pale to entertain such notions.

David Caputo
Editor and Publisher

TotallyFixed said...

For archives and amusement's sake I reprint the letter of announcement I sent out announcing this post and my 9/11 Left Gatekeeper travails.

This was also written before I hooked up with OpEdNews.com, which is now my big second journalistic home...

Greetings friends and/or fellow iconoclasts,

I guess I'm in the "controversial political columnist" business again.

I just found out the hard way that Left Gatekeepers are quite humorless and hard-pressed to justify their thought processes, so they just censor and abuse columnists they disagree with, without regard for rationality or logical argument.

It all started when I wrote an article for my blog and cross-posted it on SmirkingChimp.com.


I thought it was a reasonable piece of journalistic criticism, but apparently ANY discussion of 9/11 without showing sufficient vitriol towards the "skeptics community", is a reason for shutdown, so they stopped the votes and comments on my article, essentially killing its traffic.

Wondering what was up, I wrote a polite letter asking what had happened.

I was told that "conspiracy" articles that "present speculation as fact" were banned from publication in the Chimp.

Still unsure where I had crossed any lines, I wrote him a lengthier reply, asking for clarification.

None was forthcoming, for several days.

So... I posted the letter, with some additional commentary, as another article.

Boy, did that get him riled up! I was pretty much banned from the site later that day. (although my article did get a couple hundred reads first...)

Jeff Tiedrich, the site's owner, was pretty insulting and derogatory in his email informing me of my banning.

He deleted the following from SmirkingChimp.com, but it remains safely posted on my home blog.


The article above is my opinion on the situation, and I'd like feedback from the community. I didn't think my reaction to his censorship was TOO harsh, especially since the initial column that precipitated the exchange (over his initial censorship) was fairly moderate. Or so I thought...

What should we do about these liberal-radical wannabees who just get all brain-dead and abusive when their strict adherence to Bush-Republican 9/11 ideological blinders is exposed? How is it that they can investigate and pontificate on every Bush-related "conspiracy" in the world, it seems, except one?

I'm currently seeking a second high-traffic home (or syndication) for my blog, so if anyone thinks my work has merit and wants to suggest a forum, I'm all ears.

For my newest piece, I penned a letter to the editors of The Nation magazine, in response to their latest trash-9/11-skeptics article, just published in the December 28, 2006 edition.


I sent it to them, but I don't think they'll publish it. I could be surprised, but I doubt it. I cross-published it on The Daily Kos (dailykos.com) and then (oops!) I read in their FAQ that:

DailyKos accepts that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by agents of Al-Qaeda. It is forbidden to write diaries that:

1. refer to claims that American, British, Israeli, or any government assisted in the attacks
2. refer to claims that the airplanes that crashed into the WTC and Pentagon were not the cause of the damage to those buildings or their subsequent collapse

Authoring or recommending these diaries may result in banning from Daily Kos.

No other theories would be even momentarily tolerated and advocating or discussing them could result in immediate banning, even if you just recommended said thread, let alone authored it. Apparently, my post got lots of reads and comments and then was flagged as 9/11-porn and I got a big-old warning to delete the entry or I would be banned permanently. Oh well... I tried...

I did appreciate one comment though...

-- ben masel said: "I'll give credit - for the most thoughtful "conspiracy" diary I've read."

At least I can take small comfort in that...

I invite people to write to DailyKos and SmirkingChimp and soberly ask why people with such strident views of opposition to the Bush Administration take their word for 9/11 whole-cloth like it was carved on Holy Tablets. Ask them why people who ridicule 9/11 researchers are given plenty of prominence, but even reasonable, rational, moderate articles about the actual 9/11 situation are summarily (and rudely) shown the door.

So... back to my search for a syndication home, and my ongoing rhetorical battle with those ideological watchdogs of the "left"..

Hope someone has a good suggestion.

I feel like writing some... It's time.

Be well,

David Caputo
Positronic Design

Totally Fixed and Rigged Magazine
a magazine about the world as it really is,
and how we'd like it to be...

Please forward this email to a friend or appropriate listserv if you think they would appreciate the articles. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Greetings, David;

I read your blog and am in sympaathy with your experiences with the Gatekeepers of the Left. Isn't it amazing how they can rant and rave and say all manner of irrational drivel with holes you can drive a truck through, as long as they're defending the Official Story!

I had my own experience with the 9/11 debate when I interviewed, live, Barry Zwicker on his book tour, "Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-Up of 9/11" last August for Vancouver's Co-Op Radio where I host public affairs shows.

I was intrigued by his chapter on the psychology of denial, as well as his chapter on Chomsky and how he staunchly defends the official story, in spite of the over 80% of Americans that you state don't buy it. You can hear our interview on MP3 format or download from our web site at http://www.topcomp.ca/bb/2006-08-28--911-jewell-zwicker.mp3

I have also connected with Richard Curtis and others on the RPA list (Radical Philosophers) who is championing the cause of the truth-seekers, but it sure seems like an up-hill struggle!

I hope you find a site to broadcast your blog more widely. Keep up the good work--your writing and analysis are excellent.

Diana Jewell
Mission, BC