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"debunkers" #gifiles #occupywallstreet 7/7 bombings 9/11 9/11 attacks 9/11 Citizens Commission 9/11 Commission 9/11 Commission Report 9/11 Conspiracy Roadtrip 9/11 Fahrenheit 911 9/11 families 9/11 phone calls 9/11 survivor 9/11 truth 9/11 Truther 9/11 Truth Movement 9/11 victims 9/11 War 9/11 War Games 9/11 Wars 9/11 Whistleblowers 9/11 workers 9/11 Working Group of Bloomington 9/11: Press For Truth 10th Anniversary 28 pages 757 911 first responders 911 museum 911blogger 911truthnews.com 2012 Abbottabad Able Danger accountability ACLU activism activists Adam Curtis Adam Syed AE911truth ae911truth.org Afghanistan aftermath Ahmadinejad AIPAC Air Force One al-Awlaki al-Qaida Alan Colmes Alan Grayson Alec Baldwin Alec Station Alex Jones Alfreda Frances Bikowsky Alhazmi Ali Soufan Al Jazeera Almihdhar Al qae al Qaeda Amalgam Virgo American War Machine Among the Truthers Andrew Card Andrew Napolitano Andrews Air Force Base anniversary Ann Wright Anonymous Anthony Shaffer Anthony Summers Anthrax Antonio Martinez Anwar al-Alwlaki Anwar al-Awlaki Anwar Awlaki architects Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth artifacts assassination Atiyah abd al-Rahman Australia Australian Broadcasting Corporation b BAE Ban Ki-moon Barack Obama Barcelona Barnes and Noble Barrie Zwicker baseball cards BBC BCCI Behrooz Sarshar Benedict Sliney Ben Fordham Ben Sliney Bill Clinton Bill Doyle Bill Maher Bill Moyers Bill O'Reilly bin Laden Blackwater Bloomington Bob Bowman Bob Graham Bob Kerrey Bob McIlvaine books Bosnia Brett Smith Brian Kilmeade Brooklyn Bridge Bruce Ivins Building 7 Building What bureaucracy Bush Bush Administration C-SPAN Camp David cancer capitalism Cass Sunstein censorship Champion Cheney China Chip Berlet Chris Hedges Chris Mohr Christian Chuck Schumer CIA Cindy Sheehan CIT Citizen Investigation Team Civil Disobedience civil liberties Classified Woman classroom CNN Cofer Black COG Cointelpro Cold War Cole Bombing Coleen Rowley Colin Powell Colorado Colorado Public Television Condonleezza Rice Con Edison congress conspiracies conspiracy conspiracy theory Constitution consumerism contradictions Cordoba Initiative Cornell West corporate media Cosmos Counter-Terror Expo Counterpunch counterterrorism coverup cover up CPT12 cryptome.org cybersecurity Cynthia McKinney Dahlia Wasfi Daniel Ellsberg Daniel Pipes Daniel Sunjata Dave Frasca David Chandler David Long David Ray Griffin David Swanson David Weigel DC debris debunking Deep Politics Democracy Now Democratic Party demolition Demos Dennis Kucinich detainee detainees Detroit DIA Dick Cheney Dick Gregory Disconnecting the Dots disinformation documents Donald Rumsfeld donations Donna Marsh O'Connor Downing Street drones dust Dwight D. Eisenhower DynCorp Egypt Egyptian Revolution Eleanor Hill Elena Kagan Eleventh actions Emanuel Sferios Emily Louise Church empire engineers entrapment Eric Bolling Eric Holder Eric Margolis espionage act Evan Dando evidence exercises explosions extremism F-16 FAA facebook Fahrenheit 9/11 Fake Phone Calls theory FBI FDR Analysis Fealgood Foundation FEMA firefighters first responders Flight 77 flight 93 Florida FOIA foreknowledge FOX FOX News Frances Bikowsky Frank Legge Fran Townsend fraud Fred Burton fresh kills funding FX Gareth Newnham Gawker General Assemby George Bush George Tenet George W. Bush Geraldo Rivera Germany Geronimo Gladio Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald globalization Global Jihad Unit Graeme MacQueen Green Party Gregg Roberts Ground Zero Ground Zero mosque groups Guantanamo Guantanamo Bay Gulf of Tonkin hackers Hamid Karzai Haqqani health Health Bill hearing Heather Penney Heroin hijackers hijacking Hilary Clinton Hillary Clinton History Commons historycommons.org hit piece Homeland Security Howie Hawkins HR 847 Huffington Post humor Hypothesis Image Comics immunity Indefinite Detention India infiltration inside job Inspire magazine Intelligence Advisory Board intelligence failures intercept International Center for 9/11 Studies investigation Iowa Iran Iran-Contra Iraq Iraq War ISI Islam Israel issues James Bamford James Gourley Jane Mayer Janet Napolitano Janette MacKinlay Jason Leopold Jay Carney Jeffery Farrar Jellyfish Jersey Girls Jesse Ventura JICI Jim Corr Jim Fetzer Joe Biden Joe Rogan John Albanese John Ashcroft John Bursill John Duffy John Feal John Gross John Judge John Lennon John Pilger John Stewart John Walker Lindh Joint Congressional Inquiry Joint Forces Intelligence Command Jonathan Barnett Jonathan Cole Jonathan Kay Jon Cole Jon Faine Jon Gold Jon Stewart Joseph Doyle journalism Journal of 9/11 Studies Joy Behar Judge Hellerstein Judy Wood Julia Gillard Julian Assange justice Justice Department KALW Katherine Bigelow kdub Keith Olbermann Kent Gibson Kevin Barrett Kevin Bracken Kevin Fenton Kevin Ryan Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Korey Rowe Kosovo Kristen Breitweiser KSM LaborTech Langley Larry Silverstein Laurie Manwell Lawrence Wilkerson lawsuit Lee Hamilton Leon Panetta Libya lies limited hangout Link TV Liz Cheney Lloyd's of London London Truth Action Loose Change Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup Lorie Van Auken Lupe Fiasco Mahmoud Ahmed mainstream mainstream media Manny Badillo Mark Basile Mark Bavis Mark Rossini Mark Ruffalo Matt Taibbi Media Matters Media Roots MEK Mexican drug cartel Michael Anne Casey Michael Canavan Michael Goodwin Michael Moore Michael Mukasey Michael Mullen Michael Ruppert Michael Scheuer Mickey Huff Mike Gravel Mike Huckabee milestone Military Tribunals Mindy Kleinberg MK-Ultra Mohamed Osman Mohamud Mohammad Atta Mohammed Junaid Babar Morocco Mosque Mother Jones motive msnbc Muburak Muhammad Hussain Mumbai attacks Murdoch Muslim Muslim Center My Pet Goat Nafeez Ahmed nano-thermite Naomi Klein Naomi Wolf National Institute of Standards and Technology National September 11 Memorial NATO NBC NDAA Netanyahu Newburgh 4 news News Corp New York New York City New York magazine New York TImes New Zealand NFL Niels Harrit NIST Noam Chomsky NORAD NORAD. FAA Norman Mineta Norway NSA NYC NYCCAN NYPD Obama Occupy Wall Street official account Official Government Version oil Oliver North Olympia Snowe onion Operation Dark Heart Operation Northwoods Opium Osama Bin Laden Oslo Ottawa OWS P2 Pakistan Palestine Panetta Pat Curley Patriot Act Patriot Defense Group Patty Casazza Paul Thompson Peace of the Action Pentagon Pentagon Papers PENTTBOM Peter Dale Scott Peter King Peter Phillips petition Philadelphia Philip Giraldi Philip Zelikow phone hacking photographs photos physical evidence Pilots for 9/11 Truth Pinochet Pipeline Pittsburgh Steelers plane crash PNAC podcast Political Prisoners political research associates Port Authority Preet Bharara press press release Press TV Prince Bandar Project Censored propaganda protest pseudo-journalism psychology Pumpitout Radio Qatar Quantico questions R. Leslie Deak rachel maddow radar Radio 2GB Ramzi bin al-Shibh Rap News Rashard Mendenhall Ray Kelly Ray McGovern Raymond Davis Ray Nowosielski redacted Rediscover911 remains Remember Building 7 Rescue Me Research Rethinking Counterterrorism RIBA Richard Blee Richard Clarke Richard Falk Richard Gage Richard Mellon Scaife foundation Richard Meyers Rich Blee Rick Veitch Rita Katz Robert Fisk Robert Foster Robert Parry Robert Scheer Rock Creek Free Press Rolling Stone Rory Albanese Roseanne Barr Rosie O'Donnell Rudy Giuliani Russ Baker Russia Today Saddam Hussein Saeed Sheikh Samir Khan Sarasota Saudi Saudi Arabia Saudis SCAD scads Scott Ford Scott Noble Screw Loose Change Sean Penn secrecykills.com self-deception Senate Senator Mike Gravel Sept. 11 September 11th September 11th Advocates September 11th attacks settlement Shadow Government Shanksville Shoestring shoot down Sibel Edmonds Sibel Emonds simulations SITE skepticism sounds South Park Spain speculation speech SPLC spying State crimes against democracy State Department State Of Emergency Stephen Cozen Steve Dusterwald Steven Hatfill Steven Jones Strategy of Tension Stratfor Supreme Court surveillance surveillance state Susan Rice Syed Shazad Taliban taped terrorism terror plot Terror Timeline The Big Lie The Corrs The Daily Show The Eleventh Day of Every Month The Facts Speak For Themselves The Hard Evidence Tour The Huffington Post The Jersey Girls The New Yorker The Pentagon The Post-9/11 World The Power of Nightmares Thermate The Third Stage Thierry Meyssan think tank Thomas Kean Tom Drake Tom Owen Tom Ridge Tom Wilshire Tony Shaffer Tony Szamboti Topps Top Secret America torture Toward Justice Toxic to Democracy Truth Truth Action truthaction.org Truth Action Ottawa Truth Be Told Comics truther Truth Movement truthout.org Truth Revolution Truth Rising TSA twin towers twitter U.S. UN underwear bomber United 93 United 175 United Airlines United Nations University of Colorado University of Virginia UN Watch US government US Military vaccines Valerie Plame Vanessa Lang Langer victims videos videotaped visa express visibility Visibility 9-11 Wall Street war war crimes war games warnings War on Terror Washington Post We Are Change Welt der Wunder Whistleblower whistleblowers White House Who Is Rich Blee Whoopi Goldberg Wikileaks William Blum Willie Nelson Will McCants wiretaps World Series World Trade Center WTC WTC 7 WTC7 Xe Yemen Zacarias Moussaoui Zadroga Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act Zelikow

TOPICS

"debunkers" #gifiles #occupywallstreet 7/7 bombings 9/11 9/11 attacks 9/11 Citizens Commission 9/11 Commission 9/11 Commission Report 9/11 Conspiracy Roadtrip 9/11 Fahrenheit 911 9/11 families 9/11 phone calls 9/11 survivor 9/11 truth 9/11 Truther 9/11 Truth Movement 9/11 victims 9/11 War 9/11 War Games 9/11 Wars 9/11 Whistleblowers 9/11 workers 9/11 Working Group of Bloomington 9/11: Press For Truth 10th Anniversary 28 pages 757 911 first responders 911 museum 911blogger 911truthnews.com 2012 Abbottabad Able Danger accountability ACLU activism activists Adam Curtis Adam Syed AE911truth ae911truth.org Afghanistan aftermath Ahmadinejad AIPAC Air Force One al-Awlaki al-Qaida Alan Colmes Alan Grayson Alec Baldwin Alec Station Alex Jones Alfreda Frances Bikowsky Alhazmi Ali Soufan Al Jazeera Almihdhar Al qae al Qaeda Amalgam Virgo American War Machine Among the Truthers Andrew Card Andrew Napolitano Andrews Air Force Base anniversary Ann Wright Anonymous Anthony Shaffer Anthony Summers Anthrax Antonio Martinez Anwar al-Alwlaki Anwar al-Awlaki Anwar Awlaki architects Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth artifacts assassination Atiyah abd al-Rahman Australia Australian Broadcasting Corporation b BAE Ban Ki-moon Barack Obama Barcelona Barnes and Noble Barrie Zwicker baseball cards BBC BCCI Behrooz Sarshar Benedict Sliney Ben Fordham Ben Sliney Bill Clinton Bill Doyle Bill Maher Bill Moyers Bill O'Reilly bin Laden Blackwater Bloomington Bob Bowman Bob Graham Bob Kerrey Bob McIlvaine books Bosnia Brett Smith Brian Kilmeade Brooklyn Bridge Bruce Ivins Building 7 Building What bureaucracy Bush Bush Administration C-SPAN Camp David cancer capitalism Cass Sunstein censorship Champion Cheney China Chip Berlet Chris Hedges Chris Mohr Christian Chuck Schumer CIA Cindy Sheehan CIT Citizen Investigation Team Civil Disobedience civil liberties Classified Woman classroom CNN Cofer Black COG Cointelpro Cold War Cole Bombing Coleen Rowley Colin Powell Colorado Colorado Public Television Condonleezza Rice Con Edison congress conspiracies conspiracy conspiracy theory Constitution consumerism contradictions Cordoba Initiative Cornell West corporate media Cosmos Counter-Terror Expo Counterpunch counterterrorism coverup cover up CPT12 cryptome.org cybersecurity Cynthia McKinney Dahlia Wasfi Daniel Ellsberg Daniel Pipes Daniel Sunjata Dave Frasca David Chandler David Long David Ray Griffin David Swanson David Weigel DC debris debunking Deep Politics Democracy Now Democratic Party demolition Demos Dennis Kucinich detainee detainees Detroit DIA Dick Cheney Dick Gregory Disconnecting the Dots disinformation documents Donald Rumsfeld donations Donna Marsh O'Connor Downing Street drones dust Dwight D. Eisenhower DynCorp Egypt Egyptian Revolution Eleanor Hill Elena Kagan Eleventh actions Emanuel Sferios Emily Louise Church empire engineers entrapment Eric Bolling Eric Holder Eric Margolis espionage act Evan Dando evidence exercises explosions extremism F-16 FAA facebook Fahrenheit 9/11 Fake Phone Calls theory FBI FDR Analysis Fealgood Foundation FEMA firefighters first responders Flight 77 flight 93 Florida FOIA foreknowledge FOX FOX News Frances Bikowsky Frank Legge Fran Townsend fraud Fred Burton fresh kills funding FX Gareth Newnham Gawker General Assemby George Bush George Tenet George W. Bush Geraldo Rivera Germany Geronimo Gladio Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald globalization Global Jihad Unit Graeme MacQueen Green Party Gregg Roberts Ground Zero Ground Zero mosque groups Guantanamo Guantanamo Bay Gulf of Tonkin hackers Hamid Karzai Haqqani health Health Bill hearing Heather Penney Heroin hijackers hijacking Hilary Clinton Hillary Clinton History Commons historycommons.org hit piece Homeland Security Howie Hawkins HR 847 Huffington Post humor Hypothesis Image Comics immunity Indefinite Detention India infiltration inside job Inspire magazine Intelligence Advisory Board intelligence failures intercept International Center for 9/11 Studies investigation Iowa Iran Iran-Contra Iraq Iraq War ISI Islam Israel issues James Bamford James Gourley Jane Mayer Janet Napolitano Janette MacKinlay Jason Leopold Jay Carney Jeffery Farrar Jellyfish Jersey Girls Jesse Ventura JICI Jim Corr Jim Fetzer Joe Biden Joe Rogan John Albanese John Ashcroft John Bursill John Duffy John Feal John Gross John Judge John Lennon John Pilger John Stewart John Walker Lindh Joint Congressional Inquiry Joint Forces Intelligence Command Jonathan Barnett Jonathan Cole Jonathan Kay Jon Cole Jon Faine Jon Gold Jon Stewart Joseph Doyle journalism Journal of 9/11 Studies Joy Behar Judge Hellerstein Judy Wood Julia Gillard Julian Assange justice Justice Department KALW Katherine Bigelow kdub Keith Olbermann Kent Gibson Kevin Barrett Kevin Bracken Kevin Fenton Kevin Ryan Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Korey Rowe Kosovo Kristen Breitweiser KSM LaborTech Langley Larry Silverstein Laurie Manwell Lawrence Wilkerson lawsuit Lee Hamilton Leon Panetta Libya lies limited hangout Link TV Liz Cheney Lloyd's of London London Truth Action Loose Change Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup Lorie Van Auken Lupe Fiasco Mahmoud Ahmed mainstream mainstream media Manny Badillo Mark Basile Mark Bavis Mark Rossini Mark Ruffalo Matt Taibbi Media Matters Media Roots MEK Mexican drug cartel Michael Anne Casey Michael Canavan Michael Goodwin Michael Moore Michael Mukasey Michael Mullen Michael Ruppert Michael Scheuer Mickey Huff Mike Gravel Mike Huckabee milestone Military Tribunals Mindy Kleinberg MK-Ultra Mohamed Osman Mohamud Mohammad Atta Mohammed Junaid Babar Morocco Mosque Mother Jones motive msnbc Muburak Muhammad Hussain Mumbai attacks Murdoch Muslim Muslim Center My Pet Goat Nafeez Ahmed nano-thermite Naomi Klein Naomi Wolf National Institute of Standards and Technology National September 11 Memorial NATO NBC NDAA Netanyahu Newburgh 4 news News Corp New York New York City New York magazine New York TImes New Zealand NFL Niels Harrit NIST Noam Chomsky NORAD NORAD. FAA Norman Mineta Norway NSA NYC NYCCAN NYPD Obama Occupy Wall Street official account Official Government Version oil Oliver North Olympia Snowe onion Operation Dark Heart Operation Northwoods Opium Osama Bin Laden Oslo Ottawa OWS P2 Pakistan Palestine Panetta Pat Curley Patriot Act Patriot Defense Group Patty Casazza Paul Thompson Peace of the Action Pentagon Pentagon Papers PENTTBOM Peter Dale Scott Peter King Peter Phillips petition Philadelphia Philip Giraldi Philip Zelikow phone hacking photographs photos physical evidence Pilots for 9/11 Truth Pinochet Pipeline Pittsburgh Steelers plane crash PNAC podcast Political Prisoners political research associates Port Authority Preet Bharara press press release Press TV Prince Bandar Project Censored propaganda protest pseudo-journalism psychology Pumpitout Radio Qatar Quantico questions R. Leslie Deak rachel maddow radar Radio 2GB Ramzi bin al-Shibh Rap News Rashard Mendenhall Ray Kelly Ray McGovern Raymond Davis Ray Nowosielski redacted Rediscover911 remains Remember Building 7 Rescue Me Research Rethinking Counterterrorism RIBA Richard Blee Richard Clarke Richard Falk Richard Gage Richard Mellon Scaife foundation Richard Meyers Rich Blee Rick Veitch Rita Katz Robert Fisk Robert Foster Robert Parry Robert Scheer Rock Creek Free Press Rolling Stone Rory Albanese Roseanne Barr Rosie O'Donnell Rudy Giuliani Russ Baker Russia Today Saddam Hussein Saeed Sheikh Samir Khan Sarasota Saudi Saudi Arabia Saudis SCAD scads Scott Ford Scott Noble Screw Loose Change Sean Penn secrecykills.com self-deception Senate Senator Mike Gravel Sept. 11 September 11th September 11th Advocates September 11th attacks settlement Shadow Government Shanksville Shoestring shoot down Sibel Edmonds Sibel Emonds simulations SITE skepticism sounds South Park Spain speculation speech SPLC spying State crimes against democracy State Department State Of Emergency Stephen Cozen Steve Dusterwald Steven Hatfill Steven Jones Strategy of Tension Stratfor Supreme Court surveillance surveillance state Susan Rice Syed Shazad Taliban taped terrorism terror plot Terror Timeline The Big Lie The Corrs The Daily Show The Eleventh Day of Every Month The Facts Speak For Themselves The Hard Evidence Tour The Huffington Post The Jersey Girls The New Yorker The Pentagon The Post-9/11 World The Power of Nightmares Thermate The Third Stage Thierry Meyssan think tank Thomas Kean Tom Drake Tom Owen Tom Ridge Tom Wilshire Tony Shaffer Tony Szamboti Topps Top Secret America torture Toward Justice Toxic to Democracy Truth Truth Action truthaction.org Truth Action Ottawa Truth Be Told Comics truther Truth Movement truthout.org Truth Revolution Truth Rising TSA twin towers twitter U.S. UN underwear bomber United 93 United 175 United Airlines United Nations University of Colorado University of Virginia UN Watch US government US Military vaccines Valerie Plame Vanessa Lang Langer victims videos videotaped visa express visibility Visibility 9-11 Wall Street war war crimes war games warnings War on Terror Washington Post We Are Change Welt der Wunder Whistleblower whistleblowers White House Who Is Rich Blee Whoopi Goldberg Wikileaks William Blum Willie Nelson Will McCants wiretaps World Series World Trade Center WTC WTC 7 WTC7 Xe Yemen Zacarias Moussaoui Zadroga Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act Zelikow

Robert Parry's 9/11 'Truth' Parlor Game

robert-parry-911-ruth-debunker
January 23, 2011
Category: HIT PIECES

It seems that I have upset some folks on the Left again, this time by mentioning – deep inside a story about Sarah Palin’s proclaimed victimhood over the Tucson massacre fallout – that groups like the 9/11 “truthers” also have contributed to America’s crazed political environment.

(Last October, I angered some on the Left by noting that the four previous examples of progressives trying to punish Democrats by sitting out elections or supporting third parties – 1968, 1980, 1994 and 2000 – didn’t work out very well, either in the short- or long-term. I meant the piece to be a historical review of these tactics but it apparently touched some raw nerves.)

Similarly, my brief criticism of the “truthers” prompted a wave of angry e-mails and blog postings. In part, I was accused of showing inadequate respect for the “truther” research and was scolded for not delving deeply enough into the intricate arguments behind their claim that 9/11 was an “inside job.”

But the truth is that I have devoted way more time to these preposterous notions than they deserve. And, since time is a zero sum game, every hour wasted on this strange parlor game means that real crimes and government wrongdoing get neglected. Still, there may be lessons to be learned here, though not the ones the “truthers” would want.

In following the curious twists and turns of the “truther” movement over the past nine years, I have become concerned that the anti-empiricism which has long infected the American Right has now spread to some quarters of the Left (although I realize that many on the Left reject the “truther” allegations as nonsensical and that some on the Right have embraced them.)

Indeed, if you were to teach a course on sophistry, you might wish to make a case study of the “truther” movement, which has deployed nearly every imaginable example of false logic, from the use of endorsements as a substitute for evidence to insistence that any miniscule doubt on one side of an argument requires its rejection while even the thinnest possibility on the other must be accepted as serious, if not true.

This kind of evidentiary game-playing is what I had grown accustomed to in dealing with the neoconservatives, such as their exaggerations of foreign threats, from the 1980s (when Nicaragua’s Sandinistas were a danger to the Panama Canal and Texas) through George W. Bush’s presidency (over Iraq’s WMD) and even to today (with worries about Iran’s nuclear program).

For instance, when Vice President Dick Cheney and the neocons were arguing for war with Iraq, they insisted that even a one percent possibility that they were right about Iraq sharing WMD with terrorists meant that their fear must be accepted as certainty, while the counterpoint that Iraq had no WMD had to be proven to some impossible 100 percent level. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “One Percent Madness.”]

Using such imbalanced – and irrational – constructs, in effect, predetermine the outcomes, since you can never prove something to 100 percent certainty and there is always a chance for some one percent feasibility on the other side. These loaded-dice arguments can lead nations into ill-conceived wars or persuade people of arguments that otherwise would be dismissed as crazy.

‘Truther’ Narrative

Though many “truthers” shy away from an explicit recounting of their presumed narrative – favoring instead “poking holes” in the official story – here is some of what they seem to believe:

Operatives working for President Bush wired 100-plus floors of the World Trade Center towers with explosives as well as the support structure of nearby Building Seven. They did all this – a complicated process that would have taken a large team of experts weeks and would have required extraordinary access to the buildings – without anyone seeing anyone doing any of this.

Then, when the two planes crashed into the towers on 9/11, Bush allowed them to burn for a while before deciding that the maximum psychological effect required that the buildings be brought down. So, the explosive charges were detonated remotely in sequential order from the top down.

After the fire and devastation spread next door to Building Seven, Bush’s team also detonated explosives there to bring down that smaller tower, presumably with the motive of destroying government documents that were located in offices there.

Meanwhile, in Washington, a third plane was approaching the Pentagon. Passengers onboard made frantic phone calls describing the hijacking. Plus, since the Pentagon is not in some secret location – it sits next to Interstate-395 and can be viewed from high-rises across the highway in Crystal City – some hundred or so people reported seeing the plane head into the Pentagon.

Some of the plane’s wreckage was strewn across the Pentagon grounds, and authorities later reported recovering the plane’s black box inside the Pentagon. But “truthers” insist that no plane hit the Pentagon; that Bush’s team attacked it with a missile.

However, nobody saw a missile. Nor would there be any way to explain the plane wreckage on the grounds, since nobody saw more Bush operatives driving around the Pentagon grounds planting fake pieces of the plane – even as emergency personnel and others rushed to the crash site.

To label the “truther” version of the 9/11 events nutty would seem an understatement – and there are other parts, including stuff about fabricated voice messages, that are arguably crazier. Indeed, the “truther” account has sometimes struck me as a parody meant to bring ridicule on more serious conspiracy investigations such as those into the JFK assassination.

As I pointed out in the earlier story – the one focused on Palin’s victimhood – there has not been a single witness (or document) emerging from the ranks of Bush’s supposed operatives to suggest that any of the “truther” narrative happened – even though the scope of this conspiracy would have required scores, if not hundreds, of participants.

Having covered many real government conspiracies in my career, I can assure you that there are always witnesses who speak for a variety of reasons: a guilty conscience, a boast to a girlfriend, a plea bargain when they get in legal trouble on something else.

In writing about Oliver North’s secret Iran-Contra network in the 1980s, our team at the Associated Press had two dozen sources. For our first Contra-cocaine story in 1985, Brian Barger and I had a similar number of sources, including documents from Costa Rica and a White House official describing a CIA analytical report on a Contra helicopter purchased with drug profits.

Yet for the “truther” conspiracy theory, more than nine years have passed and not a single witness has emerged who participated in planting the explosives floor by floor in the Twin Towers or carrying out the missile attack on the Pentagon or any other capacity that the conspiracy would have required.

Manufacturing a Case

Lacking any real evidence, like a knowledgeable witness or a government document, the “truthers” have built their case on alleged anomalies in the collapse of the buildings and on the shape of hole left in the side of the Pentagon. Though in all cases scientists and engineers have provided plausible explanations for these events, the “truthers” have tried to counter by marshalling their own supporters who are willing to challenge these analyses.

For instance, the “truthers” have long claimed that the collapse of Building Seven is the prima facie case for their conspiracy theory, especially, they say, its drop at near freefall speed. However, the speed of the collapse should not be all that surprising because Building Seven had a large atrium. Once the atrium’s supports were breached by the shock of the Twin Tower collapse and a resulting fire, Building Seven would logically fall into the open space at near freefall speed.

Similarly, the structure of the Twin Towers, with interlocking beams allowing them to have height without the weight of older skyscrapers, would have produced the falling in on itself effect once the beams were weakened by the impact of the planes and the heat from the fires.

However, since the events of 9/11 were unique – i.e. no one had tested flying fuel-laden passenger jets into buildings identical to the Twin Towers or the Pentagon – it is impossible to assess the various factors with 100 percent certainty. Thus, under the rules of the “truther” parlor game, the official analysis must be dismissed and a contrary analysis – however implausible – must be taken seriously.

On other points, the “truthers” have simply stretched the truth. For example, one “truther” claim was that they had discovered a residue of explosive thermite in the World Trade Center wreckage. However, when I checked their source, I saw that the claim was actually that the residue was consistent with thermite, not that it was thermite.

Much residue found after a major fire can be “consistent” with thermite, but beyond that, scientists noted that thermite doesn’t provide the explosive force for a building demolition. So, the “truthers” transformed their discovery into “nano-thermite,” a claim that is still making the rounds.

As for the Pentagon attack, the “truthers” claim that the aluminum wings of the plane would have cut a horizontal gash in the reinforced concrete walls of the Pentagon. Scientists, however, have explained that the angled-back wings actually would have compressed against the sides of the plane creating the more circular hole that was left.

But the “truthers” have claimed that the circular hole proved that Bush’s team had fired a missile into the Pentagon (though no one had seen such a missile.)

Similarly, evidence that al-Qaeda actually carried out the attack – that it was as Jon Stewart has said “an outside job” – must be rejected. Even confessions (or boasts) from al-Qaeda leaders must be thrown out because, the “truthers” insist, these admissions only resulted from torture (for those in U.S. custody) or from CIA fabrications (for those not in U.S. custody).

So, when Ayman al-Zawahiri issues one of his videos seated in front of a poster of the burning Twin Towers or when Osama bin Laden praises the hijackings, those statements must have been faked by the CIA – and you can’t prove to a 100 percent certainty that they weren’t, can you?

A Disinformation Campaign

My concern about the “truther” movement dated back to almost its origin. Because of the position of Consortiumnews.com as an Internet site which has investigated real conspiracies since 1995, I was in on many of the early e-mail exchanges regarding the 9/11 case.

Essentially, the discussion broke down this way: Some participants felt that Bush had demonstrated his arrogance and incompetence when he brushed aside warnings about a likely al-Qaeda attack. (This is the position that I personally feel is best supported by the available evidence).

A second group, however, took the same evidentiary frame and gave it a nasty twist, that Bush knew the attack was coming and “let it happen.” (Though I don’t believe there is sufficient evidence to support this conclusion, this analysis at least has the benefit of some factual foundation.)

But there was a third group, which maintained that something more dramatic was needed, that Bush had so bamboozled the American people that they needed to be shocked out of their trance – and to do that required convincing them that “Bush made it happen.”

Perhaps, because of its splashier allegations, the “Bush made it happen” crowd — with claims about “controlled demolitions” and a “missile hitting the Pentagon” — emerged as the dominant force in the “truther” movement, eclipsing those who favored more targeted investigations into such areas as 9/11 funding and the role of Bush’s allies in the Saudi royal family.

These more extreme “truthers” started out with their “made it happen” conclusion and then assembled their case. That is the opposite of how real truth-seeking occurs (with the evidence first assembled and then objectively analyzed before any indictment is made).

Some on the Left have defended the “truthers” as at least well-meaning, since Bush’s administration was seen at the time as assaulting the U.S. constitutional republic and possibly creating an American-style fascism. The ends of disrupting Bush justified the means of spreading disinformation.

There was a sentiment, too, that Bush, Cheney and the neocons (who seemed to wish for something like another Pearl Harbor to justify their military interventions abroad) deserved a taste of their own medicine, even if the “truther” narrative was wildly implausible.

As the years went by, I would occasionally cross paths with “truthers” and listen to other arguments they made for their cause. Some felt that their movement was the “only” approach that was getting “traction” against Bush. Others claimed “9/11 truth” could be the impetus to get progressives to invest in media (something that I have long advocated).

Yet, these pitches were about achieving political ends, not about meeting the evidentiary needs of a serious investigation.

Indeed, at times, “9/11 truth” has taken on the feel of a political movement, if not a cult. One elderly historian told me that he had felt “pressured” by “truthers” to give them something that they could cite as an endorsement of their position. Other notable people on the Left have described meetings with “truthers” as akin to “recruitment” sessions.

So, despite the latest rash of angry e-mails, I repeat my advice in the wake of the Tucson massacre – that just as one would hope the Right would rein in some of its crazy allegations about President Barack Obama’s birth and its violent rhetoric against members of Congress, one might also expect that the Left would show similar care in its propaganda attacks on President Bush.


Update: On Sunday, in a profile of alleged Tucson gunman Jared L. Loughner, the New York Times reported that as “a curious teenager,” Loughner “became intrigued by antigovernment conspiracy theories, including that the Sept. 11 attacks were perpetrated by the government. …

“His anger would well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government.”

Given how a mentally disturbed young person can process information (or disinformation), it is incumbent on all of us who speak in today’s public square to be responsible, especially when we make serious allegations like suggesting that Bush and the U.S. government “made” 9/11 happen.

The need for this careful behavior is true for the Right and it is true for the Left. The Center (including the mainstream press) also has a deep responsibility to examine suspicions of government wrongdoing when there is credible evidence and to have the courage to speak truth to power regardless of the pressures and consequences.

For the Center to renege on that duty (such as when the mainstream press attacked Gary Webb’s Contra-cocaine reporting in the mid-to-late 1990s) may be rationalized as “good for the country” in the short-term (by discrediting ugly truths) but whitewashing only feeds the public’s appetite for conspiracy theories on the Right and the Left.

In other words, to help avert future tragedies like the one in Tucson, all parts of the U.S. political/media system need to work better and take their responsibilities to the public more seriously. That would include not spreading wild accusations with weak or non-existent evidence, but it also would require holding Bush and his associates accountable for what they actually did.

Surely, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to decry (and investigate) what Bush did in office: his use of torture, his misleading the nation to war, his reckless tax cuts for the rich, his botched economic policies, and, yes, his failure to protect the country from the 9/11 attacks.

However, it doesn’t help the cause of accountability to make unfounded allegations against Bush – indeed it hurts. By floating unsubstantiated and bizarre claims about “controlled demolitions” and a “missile hitting the Pentagon,” the “truthers” actually make it harder to proceed with investigations into important areas of doubt about 9/11, like the financing and the Saudi role.

As for the crazy stuff, enough is enough.


Related Article: Robert Parry Decoupling From Reality

  1. sdk says:

    I have concluded the Parry prefers controversy over reporting, as controversy at least gets his articles read and responded to. That Parry prefers to incite rather than inform is a tragic default of the new aged fourth estate and current journalistic integrity.

    On the one hand, Parry is aghast at media acceptance of the Governments message on a plethora of issues. But, for 9/11 skeptics, he seems assured that all that needs to be known is out there? Please establish why you have such faith in the official story with the data from your NIST and Popular Mechanics sources.

    What are the substantive arguments that clearly delineate acceptance of the official story and that of alternative theories? And what are Parry’s credentials for parsing these differences? Parry has been paying attention to this story for nine years and devoting more than appropriate time to understanding its dynamics.

    I can only conclude that Parry is incredibly obtuse and not very inquisitive; not especially the best qualities for a edge-cutting journalist. (Not withstanding his accolades in that area.)

    His stories are only irritating as they promote nonsense – stuff beyond his understanding. Parry needs to sit down with NIST scientists on one side and prominent scientist and engineers who disagree with the report on the other and take notes. This would be a good story.

    The simple truth is that if you provided two groups of scientists with the task of achieving the rapid symmetrical collapse of a steel framed structure, one groups using a ballistic missile filled with fuel and the other positioned explosives one group would have a much easier task than the other. This is not empiricism but rather how the laws of physics work.

  2. Victoria says:

    See Kevin Ryan’s response:

    Why Robert Parry is right about 9/11 Truth
    http://visibility911.com/kevinryan/2011/01/why-robert-parry-is-right-about-911-truth/

    In his own recent, over-the-top anti-truth screed, “The 9/11 ‘Truth’ Parlor Game”, Parry exhibits the same disdain for facts and evidence that he attributes to these right-wing propagandists. Parry uses the derogatory term “truthers,” which he continues to put in quotation marks throughout the article, when referring to the people he is criticizing. This indicates that he knows he does not have the facts and evidence on his side and instead must resort to name-calling. Many 9/11 truth advocates, like myself, find this term to be offensive yet the corporate media and Robert Parry often use it in order to belittle us without addressing the evidence.

    In his article, Parry rambles for several paragraphs about the “preposterous notions” and “anti-empiricism” of 9/11 truth advocates who, he writes, use “every imaginable example of false logic.” This is strong, emotional language and again shows that Parry must resort to exaggerations when dealing with this issue.

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