Five Years Later: What Have We Accomplished?
On the verge of the ninth anniversary of the attack, can we learn from the words of an activist as he contemplated the state of the movement four years ago?
An Assessment of the 9/11 Truth Movement
Five years ago – on my birthday – the shadow government of the United States murdered over 3,000 of its own citizens (and hundreds of others) in a “false flag” operation designed to galvanize public support behind a war for control of the world’s last remaining energy reserves. Many of us quickly saw through the “big lie” of 9/11 and began a movement to expose it, to reveal the truth, in the hopes that this would bring an end to the War on Terror, a war destined – if it continues – to turn nuclear.
And now, five years later, what have we accomplished?
In short, everything and nothing. We began this movement to convince the American public and the world that the official story of 9/11 was a lie, and that ruling factions within our own government were the real perpetrators. This we accomplished. Opinion polls conducted over the last two years show that the majority of Americans believe the US government was complicit. We bombarded every mainstream and alternative medium available with information, from Air America to internet blogs. We handed out leaflets in cities and towns across the country, held signs on street corners, wrote letters to everyone we could think of. And you know what? It worked. Today it is rare that I talk to a person who doesn’t believe the US government was involved in the attacks in some way. Compared to just two years ago, when people would look at us like we were crazy for suggesting such a thing, this is an amazing success.
Or so it seems. For at the same time, not a single perpetrator of 9/11 has been prosecuted, and the War on Terror continues unabated, as does the endless stream of lies and propaganda designed to keep us fearful and compliant. Why this discrepancy? What accounts for the 9/11 Truth Movement’s seeming victory in shattering the American public’s blind acceptance of the official story, and the stark reality that nothing has changed politically? In other words, why, in the midst of total success, have we failed?
This is the question I have been asking myself over the last few years. As co-founder of the first national activist organization for 9/11 truth, the 9/11 Visibility Project, I devoted two full years of my life to building this movement. And to see it grow from a handful of struggling yet dedicated individuals into the enormous yet ultimately ineffective movement it is today, saddens me to no end. Thus for me this is not merely an academic question. I mean it honestly: why, in the midst of a seeming total success, have we failed?
The answer to this question, many have concluded, involves the lack of political will of the people of the United States. It is one thing to know the truth, and quite another to act upon that truth. Democracy Now is a case in point. A great many of us have had conversations with Amy Goodman and the other producers of Democracy Now, and they all know the official story of 9/11 is a lie. Yet except for a few segments we forced them to air as a result of our public pressure campaign (where they for the most part ridiculed us), they have chosen not only to ignore 9/11 truth, but to affirm the official story again and again in their programming.
Many other examples can be given, not only from the left media, but from senators, congressmen, Eliot Spitzer, etc. How many of these people know the truth, yet do nothing? (Cynthia McKinney may be the one notable exception). Where is the political will?
But to blame the American people alone for their lack of courage in opposing US imperialism fails to ultimately answer the question, for we must also ask why such a lack of courage exists in the first place. Certainly it isn’t a lack of courage in general. The American population regularly demonstrates great courage and political will when it comes to social and domestic issues. And neither do I believe, as some cynical observers claim, that the majority of Americans secretly support US imperialism, that given the choice they would rather see millions of innocent foreigners die than reduce their own oil consumption and powerdown. If such was the case, there would have been no need for a 9/11, and there would be no need for the ongoing lies and deceptions. Simply citing the lack of political will among the American public thus begs the question, for the answer we seek is exactly that which accounts for this lack of courage when facing the truth of 9/11.
Here is my assessment. The reason for the discrepancy between what people know about 9/11 and what they are willing to do to stop the War on Terror; the reason we have ultimately failed, in other words, has to do with the scope and sophistication of the political and social control mechanisms used against us; namely, disruption and disinformation. I have been an activist for 20 years, and I have seen and experienced COINTELPRO-style disruption many times in the past. Yet never before have I witnessed it used on such a scale and with such precision as I have within the 9/11 Truth Movement. There are thousands of examples, but let me give you just a few.
1. When we launched our Democracy Now campaign, we asked activists and the general public to send them emails requesting they have David Ray Griffin on their show. We provided a sample letter, but encouraged people to write their own, and we asked them always to be polite. We also provided them the email addresses to send their letters, and we included our own email address in the mix, so we could see what kinds of letters Democracy Now was receiving. What happened was very telling. For every two or three emails they received that were respectful and well-written, they received one that was either highly insulting, vehemently anti-semitic, or down-right ludicrous. The timing and repetitive use of specific phrases among many of these emails revealed a coordinated effort to disrupt our campaign and convince Democracy Now not to associate with us.
2. When we launched our campaign to get the attorney General of New York State, Eliot Spitzer, to open a new investigation into 9/11, we began an online petition drive and received thousands of signatures. Shortly after our campaign website went up, another website was launched duplicating our campaign and promoting preposterous claims designed to make the 9/11 Truth Movement appear ridiculous. Thus a clear message was sent to Eliot Spitzer that opening a new investigation into 9/11 could easily destroy his reputation by associating with people who believe, among other nonsense, that the planes on 9/11 were merely holograms inserted onto TV screens.
And these are just examples of reactive disruption efforts (in response to things we do), which aren’t even the primary methods they use against us.
Controlling Your Opposition by Becoming It
One lesson the shadow government has learned over the last 40 years is that the best way to defeat your opposition is to become your opposition, and like many of those phony socialist and anti-war groups on college campuses that suck rebellious student energy and dissipate it ineffectively, preventing the formation of a legitimate, effective opposition, so have they taken over a large part of the 9/11 Truth Movement itself, channeling new skeptics (and old) into endless debates around physical evidence and other ineffective actions. During my entire time within the movement, I never once named publicly any individuals or websites I thought were intentionally promoting disinformation, or leading us down useless avenues, nor will I now. (This is to protect myself from reprisals, to avoid the further disruption caused by the endless cycle of “snitch jacketing,” and because you can never really prove who is an agent and who is simply duped by the disinfo itself, much of which is easily believable on the surface.) But to prove that agents are among us, and that they have succeeded in taking over the bulk of the movement, one needs to go no further than compare the number of people who believe no plane hit the Pentagon with the number of people who know about the simultaneous wargames that were taking place on the morning of 9/11, and that prevented NORAD from intercepting the planes before they hit their targets.
The former claim, widely believed, is perhaps the most successful and sophisticated disinformation campaign injected into the 9/11 Truth Movement. Supported by doctored video footage released by the Pentagon itself, it has almost single-handedly made the movement the laughing stock of Washington DC residents, hundreds of whom saw the plane hit the building, and thousands of whom have relatives or friends who did. And this was likely its intention, for it has successfully alienated from the movement precisely those DC professionals (senators, congressmen, federal judges, prosecutors, etc.) who hold enough power to effectively investigate and prosecute the crime. It has also been the primary wedge used to divide the movement from itself. While there is no space here to delve into the details of the “no plane at the Pentagon” hoax, I am forever indebted to Mark Robinowitz for having the stubborn persistency to keep challenging me back when I, too, believed the hoax. I am also immensely grateful to Jim Hoffman for his unparalleled analysis of the Pentagon physical evidence.
On the other hand, the wargames comprise the very heart of the operation. On the morning of 9/11 itself, the FAA and NORAD were occupied in air defense drills simulating none other than multiple airline hijackings. These drills included fake blips inserted onto their radar screens, as well as remotely controlled aircraft in the air posing as passenger jets. Thus the perpetrators of 9/11 (those overseeing the wargames) were able to incapacitate the US air defense system without having to order a stand-down, allowing the operation to succeed. Because of the wargames, NORAD personnel did not know where to send the fighter jets when the supposedly “real” hijackings took place (likely also being flown by remote control). They acknowledged this during the 9/11 Commission hearings, with no follow-up questioning of course.
How many people have heard of the wargames compared to the “no plane at the Pentagon” theory? How many 9/11 Truth websites make reference to the wargames compared with the Pentagon hoax? And how many 9/11 truth activist organizations do you know emphasizing the wargames as opposed to all the various physical evidence arguments? The answer to these questions will tell you a lot about the state of the movement, and who really controls it. (Incidentally, the world should be forever indebted to Mike Ruppert, who put the pieces together about the wargames and presented them in their proper light, first on stage to a small audience in Toronto, which included myself, and then in full detail in his book, Crossing the Rubicon.)
So we shouldn’t place all the blame upon those individuals who willfully ignore the truth of 9/11. Certainly there is an element of cowardice involved, a lack of integrity, and a selling out. We know, for example, that Democracy Now received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Ford Foundation specifically to report on 9/11. But what would happen to Democracy Now if Amy Goodman chose integrity over money? The same thing, perhaps, that happened to Mike Ruppert? This is not to excuse Goodman’s willful ignorance, her selling out to the very government she professes to oppose. (I don’t listen to her show anymore, but I read From The Wilderness every day.) I simply want to recognize the immense power of that government, a power that can murder 3,000 people and get away with it, a power that can induce good activists to sell out, and better ones to flee the country. (Living to fight another day is not so condemnable, after all.) Herein lies an important factor in our failure.
More About Disinformation
One of the characteristics of 9/11 disinformation a lot of people have a hard time grasping is that much of it is designed specifically to convince people of US government complicity in 9/11. This might seem like a contradiction, until one understands that 9/11 disinfo is part of a broader system of mass manipulation where the opposing perspective plays an essential role. The basic idea is to control both sides of the debate, and frame it in a way that makes the opposing side ineffective (not necessarily unbelievable). In the end it doesn’t matter whether even a majority of the people believe the US government was complicit in 9/11 (this is already the case). What matters is only that the perpetrators can never successfully be prosecuted. Thus they pollute the body of evidence with red herrings and false lines of inquiry. If, in the process, they happen to cause some people to disbelieve the official story (as in the case with the “no plane at the Pentagon” hoax), all the better, because the end result is a weakening of any legal case that might be brought against them.
There is an important quote by E. Martin Schotz from his book, History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial, and the Murder of President Kennedy. It is: “One of the primary means of immobilizing the American people politically today is to hold them in a state of confusion in which anything can be believed and nothing can be known.” Conspiracy theories, in other words, provide the perfect cover for real conspiracies. When anything can be believed because the available information is a convoluted mix of truth, falsehood and probability; when the actual truth itself is convoluted, involving deception, mystery and illusion; then one is ultimately left to their own emotions to decide. And emotions, of course, can be easily manipulated. What do you want to believe? After all, it’s up to you. You’ll never know the truth, or at least you’ll never be able to prove it in a court of law. Do you really want to be marginalized and ridiculed as a conspiracy theorist? You get the idea.
The World Trade Center Collapse: A Necessary Illusion
In my two years of 9/11 truth activism, I never emphasized the physical evidence. I always knew it was a dead end that would suck the movement’s energy and accomplish nothing. But let me be straight up for a moment, if a bit speculative, because thinking about these things is helpful. They demolished the World Trade Center towers with explosives. I have no doubt about this, just as I have no doubt that the planes were flown by remote control. I also believe that hijackers did, in fact, board the planes (despite the articles claiming some of those named are still alive). I think the hijackers were trained US operatives (patsies), and that they likely did not know they were going to die. I also think the most probable explanation for the shoot-down of flight 93 is that the passengers did, in fact, storm the cockpit, only to discover that the plane was being flown by remote control. And so in order to prevent any of them from calling their loved ones and blabbing (yes, phones can work on planes), they had to shoot it down. Or perhaps the hijackers themselves learned their real fate and allowed the passengers into the cockpit to try to regain control of the aircraft. We’ll never really know, and this is the idea. “Anything can be believed,” and so it is equally plausible, as others have speculated, that the shoot-down of Flight 93 was planned from the beginning.
But the World Trade Center demolition is obvious, which leads to an important question: why did they do it? Wouldn’t simply crashing the planes into the buildings have been enough? Why bring them down completely? The typical responses here apply: They needed their “New Pearl Harbor,” a mass casualty event to shock the public into supporting a retaliatory war. They also needed a spectacle that wouldn’t be easily forgotten. These explanations are true enough. Another often cited and plausible one is that they needed to make the lie obvious enough that the people who mattered (government, corporate, and military leaders, for example) would know that they–the secret government within the government–did this and got away with it. This sends a powerful message of invincibility to anyone who might be thinking of opposing them. And the fact that they demolished building 7 later that evening in a classic-style demolition sure seems to support that argument. It’s as if they were saying, “just in case you didn’t get it the first time, we’ll show you one even more obvious.”
But there is another reason they demolished the World Trade Center towers, in my opinion the most important reason, which is that they needed the lie to be incredible. As Hitler and Goebbels understood, the bigger and more incredible the lie, the more people will believe it, because they will have to make a bigger psychological leap in order to disbelieve it. Mass manipulation of this kind plays on the natural desire many people have to conform, and it is much more difficult, psychologically, for the conforming individual to disbelieve a popularly-held incredible lie than a mundane one, for to do so would set one widely apart from the herd. To put this another way, imagine if they had merely crashed four planes into the ocean. How much easier it would be then for people to speculate that the government may have done this as a pretext for war. To do so would not require a really incredible contradiction of the official story, marginalizing oneself from the mainstream. It would not be so easy to dismiss such claims as “outrageous conspiracy theory,” and ridicule would be less effective. What is important to remember here is that propaganda of this sort is not designed to fool critical thinkers, but to provide conforming individuals with a reason not to start thinking critically. Thus the total destruction of the World Trade Center in such a dramatic yet obvious way was, in my opinion, an essential, psychological component of the operation.
Note: I have assumed that the reader of this article has some familiarity with the 9/11 Truth movement, and at least a rudimentary understanding of the physics involved in the World Trade Center Collapse. If not, there is an excellent, brand new DVD available: an in-depth analysis of the WTC Collapse from scientists Steven Jones and Kevin Ryan. Steven Jones is a professor of physics at BYU, who has risked his reputation to challenge the government’s official “pancake” theory of the collapse. A sincere and courageous academic who dared to come forward with the truth, he has subsequently been approached by less honest persons who many believe are trying to tarnish his reputation, in part by association with repugnant, anti-semitic viewpoints. And Kevin Ryan is a former lab manager at Underwriters Labs, the company that tested and certified the steel used in the World Trade Center. He was fired when he went public with information about the cover-up in a whistle-blowing letter we first published in November of 2004. In this DVD he explains in detail why the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report on the World Trade Center collapse is a lie.
In the Spring of this year, I gave a presentation on 9/11 truth to the Howard Dean supporters during a Democracy For America conference in Portland, Oregon. (Here is an mp3 of my talk if you want to listen to it.) I felt bad afterwards because there were a lot of new and enthusiastic 9/11 truth activists in the audience, folks who had only recently broke free from the matrix, so to speak, and I basically told them that I felt the movement was over, that we had failed, and that the window of opportunity for obtaining justice for 9/11 was closed for good. While I still believe this, after my talk I realized I didn’t leave any of these new activists with much hope. I want to try and do that now. Yet I don’t want to reaffirm a false hope that the perpetrators of 9/11 will ever be prosecuted. Rather, I want to try to help people transcend and integrate the truth of 9/11 into a broader awareness of the state of the world today, a world where there is much to be hopeful about.
The world today stands on the brink of a confluence three major, global crises: peak oil, global warming and the imminent collapse of the global banking system. All of these are inter-related, and have greed as their ultimate cause. Greed is the common human trait of wanting more than one really needs to be healthy and happy. It exists in (almost) all of us, to varying degrees. Gluttony, for example, the desire for more food or drink than one really needs, is a form of greed. So is lust. Envy, the desire to have what others have, is another form of greed. Greed, to put it another way, is the psyche’s unquenchable thirst for ever-increasing amounts of material energy. It is the false identification of the Self with the material world, and while I don’t want to get overly religious or spiritual here, it is important to understand this, because it allows us to empathize with those whom we may perceive as our enemies, those whom we believe are somehow different from us (yet there really is no “other”). It is only with compassion that we can begin to see the true nature of 9/11, the truth behind the truth, so to speak.
9/11 was a pretext to launch the War on Terror, a war to control the world’s remaining energy reserves in order to maintain the over-consumptive lifestyle that Dick Cheney insists is “not negotiable.” And the War on Terror was conceived in response to peak oil, which threatens to end the current system of corporate greed, over-consumption and exploitation. That system requires ever-increasing amounts of material energy to continue, and peak oil is nothing less than the end of that increase. The War on Terror is, therefore, a war on “terra” to maintain the illusion of perpetual growth, the myth that over-consumption can go on forever. It is an extreme manifestation of the ego’s desperate attempt to live forever, and it is doomed to fail. The earth is finite, and we cannot continue to to deplete its energy forever.
This can be seen as a crisis, which certainly it is, but it is only so in the sense that it demands a transformation of our political and economic systems, our consumption-based lifestyles, and our self-identities. As such it is also an opportunity, an opportunity to transcend our own greed, to face the truth of who we really are (interconnected with everyone else, and with the earth), and to make the necessary and inevitable sacrifices required of us. (Remember that sacrifice is not the giving up of the things we need. It is the giving up of the things we don’t need, including our illusions.)
The neocons are so far unable to make this necessary transformation. They are trapped in the very system they have created, but there are those all across the planet who are trying, starting small and making some of the necessary sacrifices. People are struggling everywhere to create cooperative institutions of mutual aid and solidarity, to resist the forces of ignorance and greed. One needs look no further then the Bolivarian Revolution sweeping across Central and South America to understand this. And there are many people here in the US, as well, exerting the same efforts, implementing a powerdown strategy and working towards the re-localization of social and political institutions.
The question lies in whether the forces of light (reason, compassion, truth) will overcome the forces of darkness (greed, fear, ignorance), whether the spirit of the Bolivarian Revolution will sweep over the world, or whether the neocons and their counterparts in other countries will sweep the world away. This is up to us to decide, both collectively and individually, and we are constantly making that decision every moment, in every action we undertake. In that light, let us always remember that we can’t really fight fire with fire. We fight fire with water, and to the degree that we have failed thus far to end the War on Terror, is to the degree that we have based our own actions – our own activism – on anger or fear. I am no exception, and yet like many, I aspire.
Towards Peace and Truth,
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