9/11 again, responding to readers?

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9/11 again, responding to readers?

By rahnuma ahmed

My two-part series on 9/11 and the blowback paradigm has elicited considerable response from readers, not, I must add, in the pages of New Age but through e-mails, addressed to me personally (Part I, Does the `blowback? paradigm explain 9/11? Truth-ers disagree, September 19, 2011; Concluding Part, September 20, 2011, New Age).
Varied responses.
I think you need to write another piece, to wrap up the whole thing. Digesting all the stuff, even if it was in two-parts was quite difficult. I?d like to chew on what you?ve written, and to know more. Is that possible?
I found two things very important and interesting, wrote another reader, a PhD student at an American campus. The American left?s phobia of conspiracy which leads to a psychology of denial, precluding the possibility that the American state is far more vicious than imagined by leading Left writers. And the other thing is what Parenti says of conspiracies, that they are `a component of the national security political system in the US, not deviations from it.? It just opened my eyes.
Another doctoral student, she too, a Bangladeshi, wrote from a university campus in England. It clarifies the Leftists stand for me. I?d come across many scholars and students who are equally critical of American foreign policy but disagree with Chomsky?s analysis. I?d never understood why, it?s clear now. Congrats for clarifying how leading Left thinkers too, are wedded to a state-driven paradigm.
Chomsky?s acceptance of the official version and his gross generalisations about so-called conspiracy theorists, wrote another reader, makes me wonder how far left, dissident intellectuals are capable of raising questions about the nature of the state within which they lead their lives. It makes me wonder about the boundaries of Chomsky?s critical inquiries, about the social nature of his relationship to the American elite, which is part of the global elite. What I found most appealing in what you wrote is not so much the 9/11 Truth movement per se as how iconic left intellectuals resist paths seeking to discover the truth.
`There?s by now a small industry on the thesis that the administration had something to do with 9-11,? says Chomsky.
To speak of the 9/11 Truth movement thus, says Barrie Zwicker, is a familiar put-down. `Small industry? often implies a `cottage industry,? it conjures images of a `tiny minority of energetically mistaken individuals? some of whom may be making money off it, thereby portraying their motive as `disreputable.?
In reality, raising doubts about the official version has hardly proven to be beneficial. Retired news anchor, Dan Rather, says “there was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around peoples’ necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions…. And again, I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism. ..What we are talking about here — whether one wants to recognise it or not, or call it by its proper name or not — is a form of self-censorship.”
Reporters do not report `their own insights? or `contrary evaluations? of the official 9/11 story, says Karen Kwiatkowski, retired Air Force colonel. Questioning the government story about 9/11 is similar to questioning the `very foundations of our entire modern belief system regarding our government, our country, and our way of life.? It is far more serious than being labeled a `disgruntled conspiracy nut,? or an `anti-government traitor,? or even being sidelined or marginalized within an academic, government service, or literary career. Pressures to remain silent come from advertisers and the media, adds Dan Rather.
I read this in a piece by William Woodward, psychology professor at New Hampshire university.?He should know, for when news of his membership of 9/11 Scholars for Truth became known, New Hampshire?s governor denounced his views for being `crazy and offensive?, while a spokeswoman for the governor said it raised questions about his `competence? (The Boston Globe, September 10, 2006).More intimidating was a request from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) to the NH?s board of trustees to `investigate? him. The request, writes Woodward, was instigated by vice president Dick Cheney?s wife Lynn. University authorities, to their credit, stated that no `complaints have been registered by students or colleagues,? that he had operated within the boundaries of academic freedom. But sensing that his colleages? funding could be jeopardised, Woodward stopped writing on 9/11 for a while (Kevin Barrett, William Woodward takes 9/11 Truth movement to India, November 2007).
Did the Bush administration have something to do with 9/11? Chomsky says, `There’s a weak thesis that is possible though extremely unlikely in my opinion, and a strong thesis that is close to inconceivable. The weak thesis is that they knew about it and didn’t try to stop it. The strong thesis is that they were actually involved. The evidence for either thesis is, in my opinion, based on a failure to understand properly what evidence is.?
Lynn Margulis, university of Massachussets professor, recipient of the National Medal of Science, America?s highest honor for scientific achievement (1999), author of over 130 scientific works and numerous books, would disagree.
According to NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), World Trade Centre Building 7? — a 47 storey skyscraper, the third building to collapse but not hit by a plane — `collapsed due to uncontrollable office fires.? [10:54] Not due to explosives.? Did they look for explosives? No. [10:28]
`So the preconceived notion of NIST is that there is no evidence for explosives and so there is no point in looking, that is the most uncientific thing you could possibly think of, not to look because you don?t expect to find evidence, and in fact, the evidence is overwhelming. They state these conclusions for which there is virtually no evidence and then they ignore conclusions that can be drawn from the evidence? (Architects and Engineers, Solving the Mystery of WTC7, video released on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 [10:35]).
The official story, says the distinguished professor, is `contradictory, incomplete and unbelievable.? It is `the most successful and most perverse publicity stunt in the history of public relations.? And adds, `Whoever is responsible for bringing to grizzly fruition this new false-flag operation, which has been used to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as unprecedented assaults on research, education, and civil liberties, must be perversely proud of their efficient handiwork.? Certainly, 19 young Arab men and a man in a cave 7,000 miles away, no matter the level of their anger, could not have masterminded and carried out 9/11: the most effective television commercial in the history of Western civilization? (University? of Masachussets? Professor calls for New 9/11 Investigation, August 26, 2007).
Not only do members of the Left, but those among ultra-Left as well, writes Jack Straw, have problems with the idea that 9/11 was an `inside job.? As Ward Churchill, native American scholar puts it, `it suggests that brown people are not capable of such feats and gives all the credit to the white man, another master race fantasy? (Global Research, May 6, 2005).
But, as Straw points out, by endorsing these attacks as blows against the empire i.e., blowback theory, Churchill in effect, endorses the official story. Which architects and structural engineers claim, is not true. Is contradictory, incomplete and unbelievable.
According to NIST, the failure occurred at column 79 on level 12. `They?re talking about a single column collapse or failure that resulted in a total collapse or failure of the building? says forensic fire protection engineer Scott Grainger.?[6:32] But, as he and Michael Donly, a structural engineer, point out, `all of the columns needed to be severed at the same time in order for the structure to fall the way we saw.? [6:14] It?s `impossible,? says Kamal Obeid, also a structural engineer, for a local failure (at one of the columns) could not drag the whole building down. [6:44]
`The symmetry is the smoking gun,? says Kathy McGrade, metallurgical engineer [6:22]. The destruction of the evidence was a `criminal act?, insists structural engineer Ronald Brookman. [11:13] `It was already being carted away and destroyed when the FEMA investigators got there about a month after September 11.? To which professor Margulis adds, you can?t do science when you are deprived of evidence and your hypothesis is the least valid instead of the most likely, and the most likely hypothesis in the case of Building 7 wasn?t even mentioned. This is not science.? [11:27]
When asked, why is it difficult for intellectuals like Chomsky and Cockburn, who are already skeptical of the actions of the US government, to ask disturbing questions about deeper things? [0:01] professor David Ray Griffin, widely-accepted leader of the 9/11 Truth movement replied, they and George Monbiot, assume, wrongly so, that the truth movement is a leftist organisation. [1:13]
This is a hardly the case, former members of the Reagan administration such as Paul Craig Roberts has endorsed my books, many of the members of the movement are conservatives, which is why they are so upset with the administration. Because it is going against all basic conservative principles (the rule of law, low taxes, limited regulation etc). Many don?t want to look at the empirical evidence, more powerful than wishful thinking, you believe what you wish to be the case, is fearful thinking. You will not believe what you fear to be the truth. `I mean how many people have simply told me, I simply refuse to believe what you are saying because I don?t want to live in a country like that.? [2:46] Griffin added, I don?t criticise Chomsky, he?s a great hero of mine. I?m still hopeful that he?ll wake up on this issue one of these days.
Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism in which she exposes how corporations profit from catastrophic events, while governments are able to further their agenda of `disaster capitalism,? while conceding that she wouldn?t put anything past `these people? thinks `we?re taking away all this energy that could be going toward other issues that are so important now.?
Klein has elaborated: I write only about what I can prove. I can prove that this administration invaded Iraq based on lies, illegally, that act by all respectable accounts has led to the deaths of more than a million Iraqis. And I don?t understand why that is not enough to impeach Bush? ?[1:56]
Similar thoughts echoed by Howard Zinn, author of the best-selling and influential A People?s History of the United States. Investigating 9/11 would `divert our energy from a real inquiry. A real inquiry is in what way has American foreign policy inflamed and antagonised people all over the world to the point of creating terrorists. That?s the question which should be investigated and the other question about the conspiracy, who knew about, who didn?t do anything about it, that to me is a dead end, it?s a diversion and I think it leads us away from what we should be doing.? [6:09]
A line of reasoning many truth-ers find incredible given Zinn?s insistence in setting historical records straight, by researching on the role of the labour movement in USA, American imperialism in Latin America and around the world, the violence of American culture, and so on (Richard C. Cook, Global Research, May 4, 2009).
But it is a comment, one made by no else than Chomsky, which has given rise to the greatest incredulity. `Even if [inside job] were true, which is extremely unlikely, who cares? I mean, it doesn?t have any significance.?
As one truth-er put it,? if the town where I live had a serial killer who had killed 9 people in our community, if someone came up and said, it?s been 9 years now, let bygones be bygones, the whole community would be appalled. Here we are talking about some peple who killed roughly 3,000 people and we are supposed to say who cares? If it?s an inside job, if they fooled the mass media, and the universities, and they fooled the political parties, and they fooled some of our best intellectuals, our best thinkers, even people who think of themselves as dissidents, the implications are enormous. If they did it once, why can?t they do it again? Where are they going to stop? Perhaps there?s a series of these events, perhaps it might happen any day now, and oh guess what, it?s going to have Iran?s footprints on it so I guess we better bomb Iran [3:45].
The `most effective television commercial in the history of Western civilization? has created deep cleavages among scientists, scholars and activists in America and
elsewhere as they contest what is truth. Its significance. Its practical implications. Against the backdrop of ever-expanding imperial wars, of conquest and looting, of death and destruction.
Published in New Age, Monday, September 26, 2011

Author: Shahidul Alam

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2018. A photographer, writer, curator and activist, Shahidul Alam obtained a PhD in chemistry before switching to photography. His seminal work “The Struggle for Democracy” contributed to the removal of General Ershad. Former president of the Bangladesh Photographic Society, Alam set up the Drik agency, Chobi Mela festival and Pathshala, South Asian Media Institute, considered one of the finest schools of photography in the world. Shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern, Alam has been guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Winterthur Gallery and Musee de Quai Branly. His awards include Mother Jones, Shilpakala Award and Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dali International Festival of Photography. Speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities, TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam chaired the international jury of the prestigious World Press Photo contest. Honorary Fellow of Royal Photographic Society, Alam is visiting professor of Sunderland University in UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society. John Morris, the former picture editor of Life Magazine describes his book “My journey as a witness”, (listed in “Best Photo Books of 2011” by American Photo), as “The most important book ever written by a photographer.”

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