Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Hopeless Stupidity of 9/11 Conspiracies - by Matt Taibbi

 

Matt Taibi in  Rolling Stone : THE LOW POST: The Hopeless Stupidity of 9/11 Conspiracies.

9/11 Truth is the lowest form of conspiracy theory, because it doesn't offer an affirmative theory of the crime.

Forget for a minute all those Internet tales about inexplicable skyscraper fires, strange holes in the ground at Shanksville and mysterious flight manifestoes. What is the theory of the crime, according to the 9/11 Truth movement?

Strikingly, there is no obvious answer to that question, since for all the many articles about "Able Danger" and the witnesses who heard explosions at Ground Zero, there is not -- at least not that I could find -- a single document anywhere that lays out a single, concrete theory of what happened, who ordered what and when they ordered it, and why. There obviously is such a theory, but it has to be pieced together by implication, by paying attention to the various assertions of 9/11 lore (the towers were mined, the Pentagon was really hit by a cruise missile, etc.) and then assembling them later on into one single story.

The specifics vary, but the basic gist of what They Say Happened goes something like this:

A group of power-hungry neocons, led by Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Bush and others and organizationally represented by groups like the Project for the New American Century, seeks to bring about a "Pearl-Harbor-like event" that would accelerate a rightist revolution, laying the political foundation for invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Your basic Reichstag fire scenario, logical enough so far. Except in this story, the Reichstag fire is an immensely complicated media hoax; the conspirators plot to topple the World Trade Center and pin a series of hijackings on a group of Sunni extremists with alleged ties to Al Qaeda. How do they topple the Trade Center? Well, they make use of NORAD's expertise in flying remote-control aircraft and actually fly two such remote-control aircraft into the Towers (in another version of the story, they conspire with Al Qaeda terrorists to actually hijack the planes), then pass the planes off as commercial jetliners in the media. But it isn't the plane crashes that topple the buildings, but bombs planted in the Towers that do the trick.

For good measure -- apparently to lend credence to the hijacking story -- they then fake another hijacking/crash in the Pentagon, where there actually is no plane crash at all but instead a hole created by a cruise missile attack, fired by a mysterious "white jet" that after the attack circles the White House for some time, inspiring the attention of Secret Service agents who point at it curiously from the ground (apparently these White House Secret Service agents were not in on the plot, although FBI agents on scene at Ground Zero and in Shanksville and elsewhere were).

Lastly, again apparently to lend weight to the whole hijacking cover story, they burn a big hole in the ground in Pennsylvania and claim that a jet went down there, crashed by a bunch of brave fictional civilians who fictionally storm the fictional plane cabin. The real-life wife of one of the fictional heroes, Lisa Beamer, then writes a convincingly self-serving paean/memoir to her dead husband, again lending tremendous verisimilitude to the hijacking story. These guys are good!

Just imagine how this planning session between Bush, Rummy and Cheney must have gone:

BUSH: So, what's the plan again?

CHENEY: Well, we need to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. So what we've decided to do is crash a whole bunch of remote-controlled planes into Wall Street and the Pentagon, say they're real hijacked commercial planes, and blame it on the towelheads; then we'll just blow up the buildings ourselves to make sure they actually fall down.

RUMSFELD: Right! And we'll make sure that some of the hijackers are agents of Saddam Hussein! That way we'll have no problem getting the public to buy the invasion.

CHENEY: No, Don, we won't.

RUMSFELD: We won't?

CHENEY: No, that's too obvious. We'll make the hijackers Al Qaeda and then just imply a connection to Iraq.

RUMSFELD: But if we're just making up the whole thing, why not just put Saddam's fingerprints on the attack?

CHENEY: (sighing) It just has to be this way, Don. Ups the ante, as it were. This way, we're not insulated if things go wrong in Iraq. Gives us incentive to get the invasion right the first time around.

BUSH: I'm a total idiot who can barely read, so I'll buy that. But I've got a question. Why do we need to crash planes into the Towers at all? Since everyone knows terrorists already tried to blow up that building complex from the ground up once, why don't we just blow it up like we plan to anyway, and blame the bombs on the terrorists?

RUMSFELD: Mr. President, you don't understand. It's much better to sneak into the buildings ourselves in the days before the attacks, plant the bombs and then make it look like it was exploding planes that brought the buildings down. That way, we involve more people in the plot, stand a much greater chance of being exposed and needlessly complicate everything!

CHENEY: Of course, just toppling the Twin Towers will never be enough. No one would give us the war mandate we need if we just blow up the Towers. Clearly, we also need to shoot a missile at a small corner of the Pentagon to create a mightily underpublicized additional symbol of international terrorism -- and then, obviously, we need to fake a plane crash in the middle of fucking nowhere in rural Pennsylvania.

RUMSFELD: Yeah, it goes without saying that the level of public outrage will not be sufficient without that crash in the middle of fucking nowhere.

CHENEY: And the Pentagon crash -- we'll have to do it in broad daylight and say it was a plane, even though it'll really be a cruise missile.

BUSH: Wait, why do we have to use a missile?

CHENEY: Because it's much easier to shoot a missile and say it was a plane. It's not easy to steer a real passenger plane into the Pentagon. Planes are hard to come by.

BUSH: But aren't we using two planes for the Twin Towers?

CHENEY: Mr. President, you're missing the point. With the Pentagon, we use a missile, and say it was a plane.

BUSH: Right, but I'm saying, why don't we just use a plane and say it was a plane? We'll be doing that with the Twin Towers, right?

CHENEY: Right, but in this case, we use a missile. (Throws hands up in frustration) Don, can you help me out here?

RUMSFELD: Mr. President, in Washington, we use a missile because it's sneakier that way. Using an actual plane would be too obvious, even though we'll be doing just that in New York.

BUSH: Oh, OK.

RUMSFELD: The other good thing about saying that it was a passenger jet is that that way, we have to invent a few hundred fictional victims and account for a nonexistent missing crew and plane. It's always better when you leave more cover story to invent, more legwork to do and more possible holes to investigate. Doubt, legwork and possible exposure -- you can't pull off any good conspiracy without them.

BUSH: You guys are brilliant! Because if there's one thing about Americans -- they won't let a president go to war without a damn good reason. How could we ever get the media, the corporate world and our military to endorse an invasion of a secular Iraqi state unless we faked an attack against New York at the hands of a bunch of Saudi religious radicals? Why, they'd never buy it. Look at how hard it was to get us into Vietnam, Iraq the last time, Kosovo?

CHENEY: Like pulling teeth!

RUMSFELD: Well, I'm sold on the idea. Let's call the Joint Chiefs, the FAA, the New York and Washington, D.C., fire departments, Rudy Giuliani, all three networks, the families of a thousand fictional airline victims, MI5, the FBI, FEMA, the NYPD, Larry Eagleburger, Osama bin Laden, Noam Chomsky and the fifty thousand other people we'll need to pull this off. There isn't a moment to lose!

BUSH: Don't forget to call all of those Wall Street hotshots who donated $100 million to our last campaign. They'll be thrilled to know that we'll be targeting them for execution as part of our thousand-tentacled modern-day bonehead Reichstag scheme! After all, if we're going to make martyrs -- why not make them out of our campaign paymasters? Shit, didn't the Merrill Lynch guys say they needed a refurbishing in their New York offices?

RUMSFELD: Oh, they'll get a refurbishing, all right. Just in time for the "Big Wedding"!

ALL THREE: (cackling) Mwah-hah-hah!

You get the idea. None of this stuff makes any sense at all. If you just need an excuse to assume authoritarian powers, why fake a plane crash in Shanksville? What the hell does that accomplish? If you're using bombs, why fake a hijacking, why use remote-control planes? If the entire government apparatus is in on the scam, then why bother going to all this murderous trouble at all -- only to go to war a year later with a country no one even bothered to falsely blame for the attacks? You won't see any of this explored in 9/11 Truth lore, because the "conspiracy" they're describing is impossible everywhere outside a Zucker brothers movie -- unbelievably stupid in its conception, pointlessly baroque and excessive in its particulars, but flawless in its execution, with no concrete evidence left behind and tens of thousands keeping their roles a secret forever.

We are to imagine that not one of Bush's zillions of murderous confederates would slip and leave real incriminating evidence anywhere along the way, forcing us to deduce this massive crime via things like the shaking of a documentary filmmaker's tripod before the Towers' collapse (aha, see that shaking -- it must have been a bomb planted by the president and his ten thousand allies!). Richard Nixon was a hundred times smarter than Bush, and he couldn't prevent leaks and cries of anguished pseudo-conscience from sprouting among a dozen intimately involved conspirators -- but under the 9/11 conspiracy theory, even the lowest FBI agent used to seal off the crime scene never squeaks. It's absurd.

I challenge a 9/11 Truth leader like Loose Change writer Dylan Avery to come up with a detailed, complete summary of the alleged plot -- not the bits and pieces, but the whole story, put together -- that would not make any fifth grader anywhere burst out in convulsive laughter. And without that, all the rest of it is bosh and bunkum, on the order of the "sonar evidence" proving the existence of the Loch Ness monster. If you can't put all of these alleged scientific impossibilities together into a story that makes sense, then all you're doing is jerking off -- and it's not like no one's ever done that on the Internet before.

Whenever anyone chooses to dismiss 9/11 conspiracy theorists, accusations fly; the Internet screams that you've aided and abetted George Bush. I disagree. To me, the 9/11 Truth movement is, itself, a classic example of the pathology of George Bush's America. Bush has presided over a country that has become hopelessly divided into insoluble, paranoid tribes, one of which happens to be Bush's own government. All of these tribes have things in common; they're insular movements that construct their own reality by cherry-picking the evidence they like from the vast information marketplace, violently disbelieve in the humanity of those outside their ranks, and lavishly praise their own movement mediocrities as great thinkers and achievers. There are as many Thomas Paines in the 9/11 Truth movement as there are Isaac Newtons among the Intelligent Design crowd.

There's not a whole lot of difference, psychologically, between Sean Hannity's followers believing liberals to be the same as terrorists, and 9/11 Truthers believing even the lowest soldier or rank-and-file FAA or NORAD official to be a cold-blooded mass murderer. In both cases you have to be far gone enough into your private world of silly tribal bullshit that the concept of "your fellow citizen" has ceased to have any meaning whatsoever. It may be that America has become too big and complicated for most people to deal with being part of. People are longing for a smaller, stupider reality. Some, like Bush, sell a prepackaged version. Others just make theirs up out of thin air. God help us.

 

Monday, September 6, 2021

 
 

Seeing the Forest for the Trees
 
On this Labor Day 2021, we need to think long and hard about our unprecedented planetary climate crisis and how it affects working people.  While many of us are organizing on important discrete issues and movements, it's important also to look at the big picture, and "see the forest for the trees." Working people have most too lose and most to gain by coming together in these times.

On August 9, 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has stated that a recent UN report is "a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable.” See his full statement HERE.

Scientists are taking an urgent tone because serious action has not yet materialized.

The reality is that we are heading full-speed into a brick wall if we don’t act swiftly and boldly to prevent a climate catastrophe. Already, we see the consequences. There are hurricanes, tornadoes and massive flooding in the U.S and around the world, as we speak. In California, we are all too familiar with the unprecedented wildfires and of course ongoing droughts. People have lost their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods. This at a time where we are still feeling the health and economic impacts of a global pandemic. And in many ways, the pandemic has deepened our understanding of a system that no longer serves us – a system that puts profit before human life. We must transfer this knowledge of an inept system that brought us COVID (which continues to haunt us) to the climate crisis which threatens our very survival on this planet.

How did this climate crisis happen? Who is most responsible?

I agree with Jeremy Corbyn (Britain’s Labour Party member of parliament) who stated:  “The political and economic system we live in does not produce climate change by accident but by design, rewarding big polluters and resource extractors with superprofits.”

That is why I believe that this climate crisis is indeed a class issue. It is the richest among us who have created it, and it is poorest among us who are suffering the most and will continue to suffer deeply if we don’t stop those most responsible.

What are our choices?

While many talk about the need for stopping this run-away climate crisis, and various policy changes and models of organizing have been suggested and some actions taken, the fact of the matter is that we are not doing enough.
I think the future requires us all to play a role and that means class struggle. Class struggle in the climate crisis means forcing corporations to stop harming our planet.

The choice is up to us. Do we recoil in fear and hope that somehow things will work out?  Do we think those profiting most from our society (big corporations, including the fossil fuel industry) will somehow make the right decisions and bring us out of the climate crisis before it’s too late? Or do we chart out a new path, one that is inclusive of all working class people fighting together for a livable planet and a future that puts life and dignity first?

The fact is that we live in a system that has allowed the top 1% of Americans to have about 16 times more wealth than the bottom 50% of us. See this recent article HERE.

But this should not cause us to feel overwhelmed or recoil in fear. There is much we can do. We can make transformative change!

While we are faced with enormous challenges, it is essential that we operate not from fear but from courage. We must not run from the truth. And the truth is that the profit-system will not save us. We can be our own saviors if we act from a place courage, love and solidarity rather than fear. We can push oil companies to start de-commissioning their refining capacity and to make whole cities in which these oil profiteers have made their billions over the past century with exploitation of communities and the environment.

Richmond – a city with a history of working class struggle

In Richmond, we have struggled for decades for health, justice, sustainability, opportunities, peace, and prosperity. We have made some great strides in past years, including in 2021 thus far (see HERE), but the gravity of the crises we face require much more from us all. These strides must continue and must be ramped up.

Soon we will have a consultant on board the City of Richmond that will be reaching out to the community to discuss a local Green-Blue New Deal and a Just Transition from a fossil fuel based economy.

Connecting the dots – how we move forward

While we need to draw on the experts and consultants in terms of how best to shift our policies, our economy and our lifestyles into a sustainable future, nothing will make a difference unless we organize. It is possible and we have no time to waste to bring together a mass base, a working class coalition. Climate change affects all the material conditions in which we, as working class people, live. It affects housing, energy, food, and transport. Traditional working class demands for a job guarantee, decent wages, good benefits, working conditions, and leisure time intersect fully with the struggle for a sustainable climate.

By focusing working-class power (which is the power of the vast majority of us) on winning the climate struggle, we can and will move forward.
The labor movement needs to connect with the climate movement and visa versa. Our lives and our future are indeed at stake.

On this Labor Day, as we celebrate our successes and we recommit to the ongoing struggle for workers’ rights, let’s hold our heads high as the champions who will ultimately win the battle for a sustainable planet for each and every one of us and our descendants to live healthy and productive lives.

In solidarity,
Gayle McLaughlin
Richmond City Councilmember, District 5
www.gayleforrichmond.org


Friday, August 27, 2021

As A Last Resort U.S. Finally Does the Right Thing: Turns Tail and Runs From Afghanistan

"One of the reasons Biden is having such a hard time making the case for the U.S.'s exit from Afghanistan is that he is congenitally inarticulate and he has no one around him who can make the case for him. Nearly everyone in both parties has been corrupted by this war: voted for it, funded it, planned it, rationalized it, stood silent as it started, very early on, to go bad, closed their eyes to drone killings, torture, and an occupation with no end. Even Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul. They own this war and the war ended up owning them. Aside from Barbara Lee, there aren't any heroes in this 40-year-long fiasco. But if Biden can stand firm as he's ambushed from all sides, not retreat from his retreat, and finally bring the occupation to an end, he'll go down in the history books a lot more credibly than the jackals who are assailing him."

----Jeffrey St. Clair, "Hour of the Goat," Counterpunch, 8/27/21 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Lesser Evil Politics Assure Greater Evil Economics

 


 


 

 A new American president is presenting a program for renewal of human values in the marketplace unheard of since the 1930s but still projecting American military domination and environmental destruction far beyond the awareness of most Americans. Continued insistence that Russia and China are major global threats to everyone and not just American monopoly capitalists resonate not only in the cosmic void between the ears of our mentally disabled foreign policy experts but echo in the minds of innocent Americans since that’s all they get from major, and all too often minor media.

 

The charge that China is conducting genocide on its Islamic people coming from the butchers of hundreds of thousands of Islamic people in the middle east would be a dreadful sick joke if not so incredibly evil, but poor souls condemned to network media remain stuck in a misinformation chamber amplifying our ruling power’s message day in and day out. The fact that growing majorities have little or no faith in government or media is a hopeful sign but until we totally clean out the sewage system much of corporate news has become, the stench that wafts up remains a carrier of the information pandemic.

 

While alleged economic threats from China actually do offer market competition to the empire – and market competition is supposed to be good, according to the theology preached by the priest-rabbi-therapists of the church of capital - and China is under the control of communists who at least try, not always with success, to force it to work for the common good and not just the minority of Chinese capitalists, why and how and to whom is that a threat? Only to America where majorities exist in numbers of those in debt but never those who vote nationally. This is called  “our” democracy by many wishful thinkers still unaware that the political process is owned and operated by the wealthiest minority, which spends billions to maintain political control by purchase and rental of candidates and office holders. Citizens innocently proclaiming this hustle as “our” democracy are like past slaves referring to “our” plantation. If they were the minority house negroes of the time they could afford such fantasy but the overwhelming majority who toiled in the fields and suffered the most brutal treatment had no such luxury.

 

 

And as if the treatment of these two powerful nations didn’t show enough imperial idiocy, that of a nearly helpless tiny nation currently, as usual, under assault, is greater indication of lunacy bordering on stark raving insanity.

After 60 years of a murderous attempted strangulation of the Cuban political economy, that tiny nation survives with the support of the overwhelming majority of governments on earth. Recently at the United Nations 184 countries voted to end the filthy American embargo with only Murder Inc. headquartered in the USA and Israel still, as always out of step with the overwhelming majority while spouting humanitarian rhetoric and practicing murderous brutality. This still finds well meaning people waving flags and quoting bibles and constitutions as though these fabled symbols clean up the reality of degenerate social practice as hypocritical as a rapist claiming victims only to assure they do not suffer sexual frustration.

 

The anti-Cuban lobby, second only to that of Israel in its control of American foreign policy, was originally a creature of the Cuban upper classes who escaped to Miami from the revolution that was working to spread education, jobs, health care and other necessities of life to the greatest number of people who had long been denied by American partnership with Cuban ruling power. They loom large in the current scenario of an alleged uprising against the terror and horror of millions of people eating, going to school and getting health care despite the ugly embargo and other violent attempts to smother the island of 11 million so that capital might again profit from gambling and drugs, as it did before 1960.

 

Meanwhile, another bloody lie in Afghanistan has ended with the Taliban, the group we were allegedly protecting poor afghans from, has taken over the government of their own country. This after billions have been spent and hundreds of thousands murdered in pursuit of profits while good people here have been fed stories about emancipating women and educating afghans to the joys of democracy like ours, where hundreds of thousands of Americans live in the street while we spend trillions to kill people and billions to care for pets.

 

And far beyond wretched national policies looms the global curse of what private profit industrial and war marketing are doing to the environment shared by humanity and not just one or anther national identity group often claiming super status with a special connection to deities ranging from Santa Claus to the Easter bunny for all they are worth in the material world. Words about democracy are not balanced by deeds of mass murder, oppression and absolute support for rich minority rule that assures continued profit making from exploitation of workers whether they clean toilets, drive buses, pilot airplanes or walk dogs. Like the sex workers who use their private parts to create private profits for their entrepreneurial pimps, those who create, package and deliver the consumer goods that are the foundation of the economy are doing it for the benefit of owners and investors rather than their own which would be far better served if they owned and ran the businesses they form the foundation for while others get rich on their labor.

 

Facing horrible news at what the future of humanity looks like under the environmental stress called climate change, more people than ever are working to end foul methods of economics that assure disaster for humanity but trying to do so while maintaining market rules of private profit assures further destruction or worse, simply throwing people out of work they do only to survive and thus destroy hope of survival. The future must be to keep people alive by assuring the public good before any pursuit of private profit. We do not need professional economists to explain that capitalism is the only answer to social problems all the while collecting fat salaries and investment opportunities while society fails more quickly under their rule. In truth, if workers are doing dirty work that affords them salaries so they can pay their rent, mortgages and other life supports, but it costs society billions to have to clean up the mess they create, we would all best be served by paying them to not go to work. We’d be saving the billions we’d have to spend to clean up the mess they created in service to private profiteers and assure their survival by using those mammoth savings to help them learn and get better jobs for them and everyone else, that serve all of us and not simply minority investors. As the world grows more threatened and conditions become more dangerous with the USA holding several hundred military bases in foreign countries and surrounding Russia and China with troops and war ships, immediate action must be taken to both confront environmental conditions that threaten us all and war like preparations that are profitable to a criminal minority while threatening the planet and all its people.

 

In short, we need global democratic communism before anti-social capitalism destroys us all.

 

 

Friday, August 20, 2021

A Huckster Society Dedicated To Organized Looting Does Not Have a "Non-Profit" Sector

"I don't make a distinction between non-profit and for-profit businesses. It's all just kind of sucking up to people for money. At least the for-profit ones are actually giving you a service in return. The non-profit ones are just, really, just kind of tickling your privates. To make you feel good about yourself, and your charity. But it's all just a kind of a hustle." 

------Irami Osei-Frimpong, The Funky Academic 

 Source: "Comfortable Unfreedom," 8/19/21 www.thefunkyacademic.com 

Monday, August 16, 2021

We Can Kill Everything But The Virus

"The mandarins who are managing this (coronavirus) pandemic are fond of speaking of war. They don't even use war as a metaphor, they use it literally. But if it really were a war, then who would be better prepared than the United States? If it were not masks, swabs, and gloves that its frontline soldiers needed but guns, smart bombs, bunker busters, submarines, fighter jets, and nuclear bombs, would there be a shortage?"

-------Arundhati Roy, The Pandemic Is A Portal, 2020 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

When Obama Blew Off Global Warming

 “We’re opening up more than 75% of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth. So we are drilling all over the place.”

---------Barack Obama, 2012 


Source: Jeffrey St. Clair, "Roaming Charges," Counterpunch Weekend Edition, August 13, 2021