By Petra Liverani
Gatekeeping is the term used to describe the process of deciding which information will go forward and which will not. It is to be expected that the mass media/corporate/government triumvirate are strict and vigilant gatekeepers but what is puzzling, to me at least, is that certain progressive intellectuals, who are generally very critical of that triumvirate and who are regarded as important voices in keeping its members to account, also practise gatekeeping but only on a few, though vitally important, issues.
A case in point is the truth about 9/11. The crimes of 9/11 involved a massive conspiracy, planned many years in advance, which have had severe and worsening repercussions; many of us despair and feel quite helpless about what can be done about the spreading of war and terror throughout the globe. However, there is one relatively straightforward action that can be taken, if only the gatekeepers will allow it:
“When the big lie regarding the 9/11 attacks is exposed and understood, the legitimacy of America’s military agenda falls like a house of cards.”
One of the most prominent gatekeepers of 9/11 truth is Noam Chomsky. In this article I will analyse two videos of Chomsky speaking about 9/11. What can be observed is that Chomsky consistently avoids discussing hard evidence, exempting himself with the spurious claim that he has insufficient technical expertise to make a judgement, and takes refuge in fallacious argument which falls into two categories: strawman (arguing against a misstated or invented argument from the other side) and argumentum ad speculum (arguing an hypothesis after the fact which may well be contrary to the facts but, in any case, avoids dealing with the actual facts). At core, Chomsky is being dishonest.
Video 1 – “Chomsky dispels 9/11 conspiracies with sheer logic”
The video begins with a time-wasting two-minute strawman piece stating that the fact that the US government benefited from 9/11 doesn’t prove they did it. No one has made such an absurd claim as, by definition, a motive alone cannot prove guilt although, of course, a motive is very handy as a support to concrete evidence.
Chomsky then goes on to say he thinks that it would be extremely unlikely that they would plan such an operation as it’s certain that it would be leaked. The theory of plan leakage seems reasonable but does it stand up? The Manhattan Project involved a vast number of people but it was not leaked. Regardless, it’s a theory. In any case, however, there was obvious foreknowledge: Able Danger, Pentagon, collapse of WTC-7 and insider trading. No one has gone to gaol or even been charged over the implications of this foreknowledge – so far.
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was a neoconservative think tank active from 1997 to 2006. Its 25 members included Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Their document Rebuilding America’s Defenses (2000) states that the transformation of American armed forces through “new technologies and operational concepts” was likely to be a long one “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbour.”
Paul Wolfowitz was a student of the highly-influential Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago. A fellow student, Stanley Hilton reports that, under the supervision of Strauss, his senior thesis detailed a plan to establish a Presidential Dictatorship using a fabricated ‘Pearl Harbor-like incident’ as justification. He further states that he, Perle, Wolfowitz, and other students of Strauss discussed an array of different plots and incidents ‘like September 11th’ and ‘flying airplanes into buildings way back in the 60s’. See http://911hardfacts.weebly.com/iv-background-and-motive.html. This information does not prove there was a plan but it indicates that one might have been formulated.
His next hypothesis is that they wouldn’t do it because they couldn’t predict that the planes would hit the World Trade Centre. So the US government wouldn’t do it because they couldn’t be certain that the planes would hit the buildings but al-Qaeda took a wild punt with their barely-trained suicide hijackers to not only pull off the astounding stunt of hitting the buildings right on target but to first overcome the seemingly insurmountable hurdle of navigating the most restricted airspace in the world without being molested by a single fighter-interceptor? While Chomsky claims he does not have the technical expertise to have an opinion on how the buildings fell he is confident in his knowledge that the US government would not have had high-tech remote control capability or some other technology to be certain in pulling off the operation. But how does he deal with the surely much more implausible corollary that al-Qaeda was in such possession? He needs to do a little research.
According to this video, 9/11 Conspiracy Solved: Names, Connections, & Details Exposed!, by Jeremy Rys (who may have been trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records for fitting the most information into 43 minutes), at least one company within the very towers that were hit, possessed remote-control technology that one could easily believe capable of making certain that a plane could reliably hit not just a tower but specific floors within it. Planes into the towers (or the appearance of it) was the gleaming jewel in the conspiracy.
I will agree that in this case we can only speculate about what exactly happened. There are many different theories which, of course, suits the purposes of perpetrators. The video footage of the second plane seems to show it melting into the building which would defy natural laws. Is it almost-live video compositing? Is it a bomb exploding simultaneously creating a hole for the plane to slip in? Who knows? It was monstrously clever but we don’t need to explain the whole operation, just point out the anomalies that prove it couldn’t be as the official story states.
He next makes the unforgivably false statement, “Anyone who knows anything about the sciences would instantly discount the [supposed] evidence [presented by those who reject the official story].” This statement insults members of professional groups such as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (A&E911Truth), Scholars for 9/11 Truth, Military Officers for 9/11 Truth and other thinking people in the 9/11 truth movement. He does not specify the evidence he alludes to but, rather bizarrely, refutes this unspecified evidence with the argument that, in life, there are plenty of coincidences that can’t be explained. There is only one word for this: nonsense.
He admits that he’s out on his own within those on the left, some of whom have come up with “all kinds of elaborate conspiracy theories.” He applies the tawdry epithet “conspiracy theories”, popularised by the CIA around the time of the JFK assassination to discredit those who had a problem with the ballistic anomalies in the “lone gunman theory”, and then to add insult to injury collocates it with good old “elaborate”. Professor Chomsky, shame on you!
But what “elaborate conspiracy theories” is he referring to? He doesn’t say. So let’s take a look at an “elaborate theory” the truth movement has come up with and contrast it with the “straightforward explanation” of the defenders of the official story.
WTC-7 was a building in the World Trade Centre, not hit by a plane but by the debris from the collapse of the twin towers, that collapsed in 6.5 seconds. That over two seconds of its fall was at free fall acceleration is, to use a favourite word of Chomsky, non-controversial, that is, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the government agency who produced a draft and a final report on WTC-7’s collapse agree with A&E911Truth on this point. This is momentous. When something is falling at free fall acceleration it means that there is nothing resisting its fall underneath – surely, this is not too technical for Chomsky? I, myself, have little understanding of physics but this is self-evident. The most likely explanation for a building falling without resistance is that explosives have removed what is underneath. Additionally, the manner in which WTC-7 came down was exactly that of a classic controlled demolition. On speaking about WTC-7, the evolutionary theorist, Lynn Margulis, stated that scientific method demands that you investigate the most obvious hypothesis first.
It wasn’t until 2005 that NIST produced a draft report on the collapse of WTC-7 followed in 2008 by the final report. Despite the very strong evidence of controlled demolition both reports ignored this hypothesis and no results of tests of dust for explosive material were included. In the draft report, NIST claimed the cause was diesel fires, structural damage and fire while in the final report it claimed it was only fires (see http://www.consensus911.org/the-911-consensus-points/#WTC71). Bear in mind that before and since 9/11 no other steel-frame high-rise building has fallen due to fires. What is your conclusion about which side of the argument is responsible for the “elaborate theory” and which side for the “straightforward explanation”?
His final pronouncement is “Who cares?” If it’s a question that makes you wonder, watch this poignant five-minute film, The REAL cost of the war on terror.
Video 2 – “Noam Chomsky on 9/11 Conspiracy Theories”
In this video Chomsky responds to a question asking how he can maintain his belief in the correctness of the 9/11 Commission Report when a peer-reviewed article in the online journal, The Open Chemical Physics Journal, indicates that nanothermite was found at the World Trade Centre and that nearly 1,000 architects and engineers have agreed on the controlled demolition hypothesis.
He begins by stating that the architects and engineers are “unknown people” and comments on the smallness of their number. He then states that he does not have the technical expertise to make a comment on nanothermite, that it would be a waste of his time to acquire the expertise and that “these people” should endeavour to get their work published, as others (such as those who believe in intelligent design) do, in scientific journals. He speaks as though scientific journals occupy some sacred world, independent of politics, where any earnest researcher will be published purely on the merit of their work. This is highly disingenuous. Everyone knows that getting papers on controversial topics published is not a simple matter. Happily, notwithstanding the hurdle of gatekeeping politics, A&E9/11Truth did get another paper published last month in Europhysics News, 15 years later: On the physics of high-rise building collapses.
Then he falls back on his trusty argumentum ad speculum although he claims virtual factual status for his hypothesis believing it to be so certain. He said that’s it’s not controversial that the attacks were attributed to Saudis so it follows that if it had actually been the Bush administration who had done it they obviously would have attributed it to Iraqis because they wanted to invade Iraq. He goes on to describe how easy it would have made it for them to invade Iraq if the perpetrators had been Iraqis and how the administration would have avoided ridicule for its made-up WMD pretext.
Perhaps Chomsky is getting his invasion-triggers a little mixed up. The US wanted to invade not only Iraq. On 7 October, not quite four weeks after 9/11, the US invaded Afghanistan on the basis that Afghanistan refused to give up Osama Bin Laden who they claimed Afghanistan was harbouring. Afghanistan had not said they would not give him up but first asked for proof Osama Bin Laden was, in fact, behind the 9/11 attacks, which the US, unsurprisingly, did not provide. You cannot get a more contrived reason to invade a country than that. And how was it that the US was all set to militarise in a country far away so soon after 9/11?
One pretext, at least, for going to war with Iraq was supposed to be the anthrax attacks which went from mid-September to early October 2001. However, that pretext collapsed because while initially Iraq was mooted as the source of the anthrax sent in crudely-worded letters, it became apparent that the source of the highly-sophisticated aerosolised and weaponised anthrax had to be a US military laboratory. No matter. The Bush administration happened to find that there was an Iraq / al-Qaeda connection. Wouldn’t you know it?
Apart from providing an excuse to invade Afghanistan, there were good reasons for blaming the Saudi terrorists. For one thing, they seemed to have had some kind of involvement, after all, there is evidence that al-Qaeda is, in fact, a CIA intelligence asset. The alleged hijackers were real people whose background indicated links to terrorist groups and they also received some pilot training on US soil, however token. The alleged hijackers could not just be completely made up people.
I don’t think embarrassment was a major concern of the Bush administration. If we were to assume that the official story is true, they seemed to suffer no embarrassment whatsoever at their half-trillion dollar defense system being unable to foil a band of terrorists or as Ronald D. Ray, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under the Reagan Administration and a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and Colonel, has described it, “the dog that doesn’t hunt.”
But what about the plausibility of the official story? Let’s try an argumentum ad speculum from the other side.
If terrorists had hijacked a plane to fly it into the Pentagon why would they have chosen Wedge One on the opposite side of the building to the top brass? Flying into Wedge One required a 330 degree extremely skilful turn whereas flying into the roof would have been much easier, much more catastrophic and, when you consider the flying skills of Hani Hanjour, a much safer bet. Or, even better, why not target the top brass themselves? The top brass seemed remarkably unfazed when the Pentagon was struck and we see Donald Rumsfeld assisting in carrying in the wounded. Is that what a person in his position should be doing at such a time? Funnily enough, there’s a very good reason that elements within the government would haved wanted Wedge One targeted. The day before, on 10th September, Donald Rumsfeld announced that $2.3 trillion was missing from the Pentagon budget. Wedge One was where analysts from the Office of Naval Intelligence were about to start work tracking the missing money.
Let’s go back to Chomsky’s statement about being alone on the left among all the wacky conspiracy theorists. Who are these people and how can they, without being chemists or structural engineers, nevertheless feel entitled to go beyond hypotheses and make authoritative judgements about the events of 9/11 being at odds with the official story? There’s the renowned economist, Michel Chossudovsky, adviser to the UN and developing countries, whose book, The Globalisation of Poverty and the New World Order, Chomsky appraises thus: “Michel Chossudovsky’s valuable study addresses some of the most important issues of the current era.” So that gets his tick of approval but what would Chomsky make of another of Chossudovsky’s books, War and Globalisation: The Truth Behind September 11? Perhaps he considers it a work of fiction.
There’s also Professor of Philosophy of Theology and Religious Studies, David Ray Griffin, whose work on 9/11 truth garnered him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in both 2008 and 2009. He has written or co-written an impressive number of highly-praised books about 9/11 covering a range of areas, including: inconsistencies, contradictions and coverup in the official story, debunking of the debunkers, omissions and distortions in the 9/11 Commission Report, WTC-7 and others. His latest book, to be released in December is Bush & Cheney: How they ruined America and the World. While the first two parts discuss various ways in which 9/11 has ruined America and the world, the third part discusses a question that is generally avoided: Were the Bush-Cheney attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq really at the root of the ruination of America and the world in general, or did the original sin lie in 9/11 itself?
Another incorrigible conspiracist is Graeme MacQueen, Professor of Religious Studies, founding Director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University, and author of The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy. In this book, MacQueen examines the clear evidence showing that the anthrax used in the attacks just after 9/11, which the authorities initially suggested was probably from Iraq, was, in fact, a special strain of weaponised anthrax that could only have come from within the US and that the perpetrators of the attacks must be linked to the perpetrators of 9/11. MacQueen also collated a significant number of eyewitness testimonials of people in and around the World Trade Centre buildings on the morning of 9/11 who reported feeling, seeing and hearing explosions and explosives.
Getting the truth out about 9/11 beyond the internet is such hard work when you not only have the official gatekeepers but the leftist progressives to get past as well. I hope they start to get it soon.