I started reading OffGuardian shortly after it set up, following a link from the Medialens forum discussion board. As someone who has both sought out non-mainstream sources of news, and followed the 911 debate closely for about ten years, I was both surprised and fascinated that the OffG editors decided to mark the 15 year anniversary by taking on this controversy. I think it is indisputable that there is a definitely identifiable taboo that surrounds any critical approach to examining the events of 911, and in light of the general silence amongst most alt media commentators, my first thoughts were that OffG have been admirably brave to break that ‘spiral of silence’.
It is interesting to read how this recent anniversary has been marked. The mass media has been relatively quiet about it, and so have many dissenting voices online. It is as if the elephant in the room has reproduced into a small herd over the past decade and a half.
The position that is defined by unreserved acceptance of the official version of 911- that laid out in the 911 Commission Report, the NIST reports and the FBI Amerithrax report, is rigid and brittle. We know that the Commission Report was compromised to the point of making it a glaring cover up, we know that it was essentially a creation of a fanatical Neoconservative, and we know that Neocons ‘have form’ i.e. that they lied us into terrible wars. We know that the Amerithrax case is shattered, that its fundamental premise is disputed by the highest scientific authority in the US, and we know that the FBI is rivened with disputes about the case against Ivins. We now know that the NIST reports omitted vital details, and classified others, and were closed to any meaningful review process, thus rendering them outside the category of ‘scientific’.
So the only legitimate position is to at least accept that the truth about 911 has not come out; to acknowledge that the usual adversarial processes and institutions that vet what we call ‘true’, have completely broken down in the case of 911. There has undeniably been a cover up – for whatever reason that may be, so the moral obligation must be to demand a reversal in that cover up. The comments read here this past week, that, point blank, refuse to see ‘911 Truth’ as a call for truth, but insist instead that it is a claim on ‘truth’, (i.e. a predetermined conclusion -the essence of which these pseudosceptics dispute) hold a very fragile opinion, one that crumbles to nothing at the first touch of genuine critical thought. If those who have been engaged or supportive of 911 research are ‘Truthers’ then their opponents are surely ‘Bunkers’- steadfast in their almost religious insistence on the veracity of official statements made by known liars.
The fact that the vast majority of dissenting writers in the West are unable to make statements that go at least as far as pointing out the failure of the official accounts is troubling. The most interesting discussion for me in OffG was that about Chomsky’s pronouncements that are emblematic of this inability to merely point out that (in line with standard form) the government lied about 911. In this, again, OffGuardian must be congratulated for not shying away from controversy.
It is as if the pricking of that bubble, the touching of a façade, would open a discussion that would, in its conclusion, bring the whole fictive locomotive to a screaming halt. Chomsky, Cockburn, Monbiot are ‘gatekeepers’. Whether we understand that term functionally in the sense that they are unwittingly blinded by their unconscious preconceptions about deep events, or whether we think that there is some more Machiavellian interference in their strange break from reasoned arguments, the effect is ultimately the same: many critical thinkers have been put off looking into 911 by the a priori position of high profile public intellectuals. This position says that 911 research is all distracting nonsense, period. Personally it took me a very long time to close the rift that was opened up when I started to question ‘the rational boundaries’ of questioning itself – as policed by public thinkers whom I had long admired and trusted.
If we do start to question the 911 story in earnest, we end up with a small encyclopaedia of facts that should be of interest to any who might have the power to investigate further; the articles that have appeared in OffGuardian have barely scratched the surface. For the obvious reason that most of the fatalities occurred due to the WTC building collapses/ demolitions, there has been an understandable focus on this element. However, just about every single aspect of the crime is, on closer inspection, problematic. If we question:
- The origins of the organisation alleged to be responsible, Al Qaeda, and its subsequent history since the events of 911,
- The source of the expertise in training AQ operatives,
- The accounts of how the alleged terrorists got access to USA,
- The tracking and surveillance by intelligence agencies,
- Where and with whom these alleged terrorists lived,
- Who funded their stay, their travel, their training,
- Who ran the flight schools where they were supposedly trained,
- How equipped they were to carry out what was attributed to them,
- What were their real motivations,
- The evidence that they actually boarded and hijacked those planes,
- The companies and individuals who were responsible for stopping terrorists getting on those planes at those airports,
- The responses of the US command structure in face of the attacks,
- The details of the flight paths, altitudes and speeds of those planes,
- The phonecalls that allegedly originated from those planes,
- The details of the crashes themselves and the procedures for evaluating them afterwards,
- The occupants in the buildings, the crash zones of the buildings, the owners of the buildings…the fate of the buildings,
- The people who destroyed evidence and thereby covered up the crime of 911,
- The money trails
…and on, we find many threads leading back to state intelligence actors and agencies (US, Saudi, Israeli, Pakistani). Pseudosceptics allege here a ‘cherry picking of evidence’ in the support of an absurd hypothesis. I think it is more like pointing out an orchard of cherry trees along with the US Government sign that boldly reads, ‘This Is A Hill Of Beans’. The sheer weight of evidence cannot reasonably be written off as co-incidences and cock-ups, and I would assert that only a tiny minority of those who thoroughly wade into the deep waters of 911 research emerge the other side not at least suspecting US insider involvement.
What have we learned from any of this? What use is it? If not mere distraction, then what? For me it points to a fundamental shortcoming in most that I read in politically dissenting journalism. In light of the deep political analysis of such things as 911, we can conclude that the greatest problem with our society is uncontained, unaccountable, secretive power; power that acts to promote agendas that serve elite interests at the expense of humanity at large.
This needs to be repeatedly acknowledged front and centre of any critical writing on politics, economics and geopolitical conflicts . If one accepts that the US Gov/ Neocon version of 911 is not complete, or if one goes so far as to accept the prima facie case against US insiders, then it must, obviously, colour all analysis that follows. This by and large has not happened, and so we have tens of thousands of articles critical of the way the world situation has developed in the aftermath of 911, that almost all unquestioningly accept the official story as true and complete. If we hold any hope or desire for a more peaceful and just planet then the essentially criminal aspects of the ‘overworld’ of state and private intelligence needs to be brought under public control.
The extent of their lies must at least be acknowledged. I am heartened to read that reputable online media like OffGuardian are trying to open this debate in parts of the internet that have for too long disregarded it out of hand.