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Dick Cheney

The Libby Commutation: Coincidence, or Conspiracy?

by Thom Hartmann

The President of the United States has the unrestrained Power of granting Pardons for Treason; which may be sometimes exercised to screen from punishment those whom he had secretly instigated to commit the Crime, & thereby prevent a Discovery of his own Guilt. — George Mason (1725-1792), the “father of the Bill of Rights,” noting his objection to presidential pardon powers in his first draft commentary on the Constitution of the United States he helped write

Ambassador Joe Wilson writes a New York Times op-ed article suggesting that George W. Bush knowingly lied to the American people in a Constitutionally-required duty of Bush’s office – the State of the Union speech – and Wilson’s wife is punished by having her career and her life’s work destroyed (along with the destruction of a major CIA undercover asset in the front company of Brewster Jennings, Inc.).

Coincidence or conspiracy? That’s part of what U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was charged with discovering.

In the process, Fitzgerald found that somebody was repeatedly trying to “throw sand in the umpire’s eyes” – obstructing Fitzgerald’s investigation into the now-identified conspiracy to destroy a CIA asset as a form of political payback. That person obstructing the investigation into the conspiracy, Fitzgerald discovered, worked at the right hands of both President Bush and Vice President Cheney and was named Irving Lewis Libby.

Coincidence or conspiracy?

On January 26, 2007, Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff reported that Libby was going to undertake an aggressive defense of his own role in what may be revealed as a larger criminal conspiracy centered in the White House.…

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US Social Forum Supports Call for Independent, International Investigation into 9/11

During June 27th to July 1st, approximately 9,400 people from across the America,
and beyond, gathered in Atlanta for the historic, first-ever United
States Social Forum
. Thanks to donations from some of our generous supporters,
911Truth.org was there, together with about 15 other 911Truth activists from
Georgia, California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Washington DC, and Maryland.
We went with the idea we’d work to “convince” people to look at the
need for a real investigation into the crimes of 9/11. After all, the various
issues and causes represented by this diversity of People were predicated, to
such a strong degree, upon the events of 9/11, and it made sense that if presented
with the information, we’d win some allies.

We were wrong. What we found, instead, was that nearly everyone we spoke with
was already aware of at least some questions about 9/11 and agreed
with us! The People, in spite of resistance we’ve heard from many of their organizational
“leaders,” are already with us.

We learned that on Sunday, the People would gather for a final Assembly where
resolutions would be read and voted upon. Peter Thottam, of 911TruthLA recommended
we submit a proposal, so the group of us at dinner on Friday pulled together
the whereas’s and therefore’s, Peter and Keith Dunwoody (of Atlanta) tweaked
and typed it up, Brian Ottolini made 1000 copies, and the group hit the ground
Saturday morning to distribute the copies and talk with people. At the last
minute, Jose Rodriguez graciously translated… Continue reading

Emergency Anti-War Convention, Philadelphia, July 4th — Call to All Activists

ACT Independent.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Philadelphia Emergency Anti-War Convention Activist, Groups Across America to Meet in Philadelphia July 4th

This Independence Day activist groups from the across the nation will unite in Philadelphia to develop strategies and unified action to end the war and restore true American democracy

The Philadelphia Emergency Antiwar Convention (PEAC) will create a new alignment of progressive movements including: peace, impeachment, civil liberties, veterans, 9/11 truth, and others will form a united front with the intent of rescuing the current imperiled state of the union.

This gathering is the answer to a malfeasant administration and an irresponsive Democratic Party who have jointly failed to enact the demands of those whom they represent.

This new alliance, forged in response to the false promises of the elected leadership, will restore power to the fourth estate and to the constitutional republic for which we stand.

Speakers include: David Lindorff award-winning journalist for over three decades, contributor to The Nation, Salon, and Business Week; co-author, The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office, and Webster Griffin Tarpley, historian, investigative journalist, and author of 9/11 Synthetic Terror.

Schedule: The event will begin at 12:00 pm with a press conference by the Anti-War Coalition for Truth at the Independence Visitor Center located at One North Independence Mall West, 6th and Market Streets. The convention will begin promptly thereafter at 1:00 pm and end at 9:00 pm.

Endorsed by: Philadelphia World… Continue reading

Senators subpoena White House over illegal surveillance programme

Editor’s Note: Should an actual “showdown” occur over the constitutionality of Cheney’s stonewalling, we would welcome it. Let’s know exactly where we stand with respect to the willingness of elected officials to stand up to the criminals-in-chief.

It’s well past the time Leahy and company should have been pressing for these sorts of answers. Get on with it.

By Leonard Doyle in Washington

Published: 28 June 2007

The Bush administration may soon face a courtroom showdown over its secret eavesdropping programme after subpoenas were issued to the White House, Vice-President Dick Cheney, and the Justice Department.

There is a storm gathering over Mr Cheney in particular, with increasingly vocal demands for his impeachment for “political crimes against the nation”.

The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know the legal basis, if any, for the placing of wiretaps on American citizens without court warrants, as part of the war on terror.

These taps were placed by the National Security Agency, which runs a vast international electronic eavesdropping and codebreaking web with Britain’s GCHQ. When reports emerged in the media of the wiretaps, it provoked widespread anger.

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy gave the Bush administration until 18 July to hand over documents which the White House described last week as highly classified and off limits.

Senator Leahy wrote: “Over the past 18 months, this committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorisation of and legal justification for this programme.”

The eavesdropping programme began after the attacks of 11 September 2001.…

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Bush Directive for a ‘Catastrophic Emergency’ in America: Building a Justification for Waging War on Iran?

Bush Directive for a “Catastrophic Emergency” in America: Building a<br /> Justification for Waging War on Iran?<br />

By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, June 24, 2007

Another [9/11 type terrorist] attack could create both a justification
and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets

(Statement by Pentagon official, leaked to the Washington Post, 23 April 2006)

The US media consensus is that “the United States faces its greatest
threat of a terrorist assault since the September 11 attacks” (USA Today,
12 February 2006) The American Homeland is threatened by ” Islamic terrorists”,
allegedly supported by Tehran and Damascus.

America is under attack” by an illusive “outside enemy”.

Concepts are turned upside down. War becomes Peace. “Offense” becomes
a legitimate means of “self-defense”. In the words of President Bush:

“Against this kind of enemy, there is only one effective response:
We must go on the offense, stay on the offense, and take the fight to them.”
(President George W. Bush, CENTCOM Coalition Conference, May 1, 2007)

The intent is to seek a pretext to wage a preemptive war.

A “terrorist attack on America” could be used to justify, in the
eyes of an increasingly credulous public opinion, on “humanitarian grounds”,
the launching of a major theater war directed against Iran and Syria.

Allegedly supported by Iran, the terrorists are said to possess nuclear capabilities.
They are supposedly planning to explode “radiological dispersion devices”
(RDD) or “dirty bombs” in densely populated urban areas in the US.… Continue reading

Shocking and Awe-ful–Government Secrecy (or, How can this guy still be in office?!)

Cheney Defiant on Classified Material
Executive Order Ignored Since 2003

Cheney won't complyBy
Peter
Baker

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 22, 2007; A01

Vice President Cheney’s office has refused to comply with an executive order
governing the handling of classified information for the past four years and
recently tried to abolish the office that sought to enforce those rules, according
to documents released by a congressional committee yesterday.

Since 2003, the vice president’s staff has not cooperated with an office at
the National Archives and Records Administration charged with making sure the
executive branch protects classified information. Cheney aides have not filed
reports on their possession of classified data and at one point blocked an inspection
of their office. After the Archives office pressed the matter, the documents
say, Cheney’s staff this year proposed eliminating it.

The dispute centers on a relatively obscure process but underscores a wider
struggle waged in the past 6 1/2 years over Cheney’s penchant for secrecy. Since
becoming vice president, he has fought attempts to peer into the inner workings
of his office, shielding an array of information such as the industry executives
who advised his energy task force, details about his privately funded travel
and Secret Service logs showing who visits his official residence.

The aggressive efforts to protect the operations of his staff have usually
pitted Cheney against lawmakers, interest groups or media organizations, sometimes
going all the way to the Supreme Court. But the fight about classified information
regulation indicates that the vice president has resisted oversight even by
other parts of the Bush administration.…

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Cindy Sheehan: Twin Towers’ Collapse Looked Like Controlled Demolition

Anti-war icon supports move for new investigation into 9/11

Paul Joseph Watson Prison Planet Thursday, May 31, 2007

Photo of Cindy Sheehan Anti-war icon Cindy Sheehan has gone public on her support for the 9/11 truth movement after she told a radio show that the collapse of the twin towers looked like a controlled demolition and that there should be a new investigation into the terrorist attacks.

Sheehan, who made headlines this week after she distanced herself from the Democratic party and the establishment left, joined Alex Jones to share her views on her skepticism towards the official 9/11 story.

Sheehan said her decision to desert the Democrats was sparked last week when the Iraq war funding bill was passed and it was at this point she realized the Democrats had co-opted her simply to help them regain Congress and that they had no interest in ending the war.

Sheehan attacked Hillary Clinton as a “warhawk and a “warmonger” and said there was very little distinction between her and John McCain or Rudy Giuliani.

On 9/11, Sheehan expressed her support for the Jersey Girl’s petition, which calls for a new independent investigation of the terrorist attacks, slamming the 9/11 Commission Report as a “total travesty and a smokescreen.”

“George Bush and Dick Cheney held hands and testified behind closed doors, not under oath,” said Sheehan, adding, “There are many things that just don’t add up on that day.”

Sheehan questioned why U.S. air defenses were distracted by drills and exercises scheduled for the morning… Continue reading

Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency

by Matthew Rothschild

With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.

In a new National Security Presidential Directive , Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a “catastrophic emergency.” (Ed.: Full text appended at end of this article.)

Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”

He laid this all out in a document entitled “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51″ and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20.”

The White House released it on May 9.

Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.

The subject of the document is entitled “National Continuity Policy.”

It defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.”

This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include “localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.”

The document emphasizes the need to ensure “the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government,” it states.

But it says flat out: “The President shall… Continue reading

Truth believers

Truth believers: Some of the least-likely conspiracy theorists fervently preach the gospel of 9/11 accountability

By Christine G.K. LaPado
May 3, 2007

Gatherings of the faithful:
The Chico 9/11 Truth Group meets the second Thursday of each month in the Chico
Public County Library conference room, 1108 Sherman Avenue. More information:
www.chico911truth.org

At the CoreAT
THE CORE
The core 9/11 Truth group gathers for dinner at Becky Hart’s home with guest
Ken Jenkins. From left, the group is: Bill Donnelly, Hart, Samuel Ready, Marla
Crites, Rob Hanford, Joe Henegar and Jenkins (from behind).
PHOTO BY MEREDITH J. COOPER

Samuel Ready, looking somewhat like a retired professor on
vacation, sporting a graying beard and ball cap, is a calm, cheery and well-spoken
man. His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering
from Georgia Tech and a master’s in electrical engineering from USC. Ready worked
in the defense industry for 26 years in Los Angeles. Currently, the 72-year-old
Chicoan works as a budget maker for local and Bay Area homeowners’ associations,
and he attends Trinity United Methodist Church.

As unlikely as it may seem to some, Ready also is the man responsible for starting
up the Chico 9/11 Truth group, just one part of a loose yet highly communicative
network of people worldwide who are challenging the official explanation for
the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Contrary to the popularly held belief that anyone who charges that the government
had any direct responsibility… Continue reading

Sorry They’ve Been So Mean To You, George

04/30/07 “ICH” — – “If you can’t say something positive about someone, don’t say anything.” This was drummed into me by my Irish grandmother and, as was the case with most of her admonishments, it has stood me in good stead. On occasion, though, it has been a real bother–as when I felt called to comment on George Tenet’s apologia, In the Center of the Storm, coming soon to a bookstore near you.

On the verge of despair, I ran into an old classmate of Tenet’s from PS 94 in Little Neck, Queens. Help at last. He told me that George was more handsome than his twin brother Billy, and that his outgoing nature and consummate political skill got him elected president of the student body.

Positive enough, Grandma? Now let me add this.

George Tenet’s book shows that he remains, first and foremost, a politician–with no clue as to the proper role of intelligence work. He is unhappy about going down in history as “Slam Dunk Tenet.” George protests that his famous remark to President Bush on Dec. 21, 2002 was not meant to assure the president that available intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a “slam dunk.” Rather he meant that the argument that Saddam Hussein had such weapons could be readily enhanced to slam-dunk status in order to sell war on Iraq. Yesterday evening on CBS’ 60 Minutes Tenet explained what he meant when he uttered those words–the words he says have now been distorted to blame him for the war in Iraq.…

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Kucinich Files Articles of Impeachment Against Cheney

Impeachment IS on the Table!!!

Yesterday, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced House Resolution 333,
Articles
of Impeachment Against Richard B. Cheney. The three articles accuse
Cheney of
deceiving the public and Congress about Iraq WMD and a link between
Iraq
and
al Quaeda, and of publicly threatening agression against Iran,
“absent
any real threat to the United States.” You can read a Synopsis,
the
full
Resolution, and supporting documentation at href="http://kucinich.house.gov/SpotlightIssues/documents.htm"
target="_blank"Kucinich’s
House website.Track this bill (has your Rep cosponsored?) at href="http://www.thomas.gov" target="_blank"thomas.gov
(enter HRes 333 in the search bar, then click “Bill Summary and
Status”
to see cosponsors, committee assignment, etc.) We’ll need to lend
massive support
to this effort if it’s to succeed. Kucinich’s staff has said they need
us to
call and write members of the House Judiciary Committee, and our own
Representatives
right now! In addition, we need to heavily contact the media — an
internet search brings up almost nothing about either Kucinich’s press
conference held last night at 5pm, nor anything about the Articles
themselves. This is outrageous! If you’re subscribing to a “news” outlet
that’s not reporting on this important news, this is surely the time to
cancel your subscription and tell them why.

ACTION REQUEST: 911Truth.org is working on preparing
impeachment
materials very specific to crimes committed by Cheney on 9/11–if you
live
in the district of one of the Judiciary Committee members and can help,
please contact Janice@911truth.org immediately. Thank you.

MORE IMPEACHMENT RESOURCES: AfterDowningStreet.org has posted an
excellent list of action
steps and links to more information at: href="http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/cheney"
target="_blank"www.afterdowningstreet.org/cheney.…

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Kucinich Seeks Cheney Impeachment; Americans to Rally Nationwide on Saturday

For Immediate Release

Impeach Cheney First

Press Contact
Jacob Park
(917) 254-9330
jacob@a28.org

KUCINICH SEEKS CHENEY IMPEACHMENT; AMERICANS TO RALLY NATIONWIDE ON SATURDAY

NEW YORK, N.Y., April 23, 2007 – Following on today’s announcement by Rep. Dennis Kucinich that he will file Articles of Impeachment against Vice-President Dick Cheney, Americans across the country will take to the streets on April 28 to call for the impeachment of both Cheney and Bush. From Miami, Florida to North Pole, Alaska, more than 100 actions are planned nationwide.

Jacob Park, National Coordinator of the April 28 actions, said “George Bush and Dick Cheney lied the nation into an illegal war of aggression, are spying on millions of innocent Americans, and have authorized the use of torture. The time has come for all Americans—particularly our representatives in Congress—to decide where they stand. To turn a blind eye to lying, spying, and torture makes a mockery of our most basic values and the very notion of democracy.”

On April 28, a visit by George Bush to Miami will be greeted with a massive impeachment rally organized by dozens of local groups. At the California Democratic Convention in San Diego, hundreds of delegates will defy the party leadership by bringing an impeachment resolution to the floor. Thousands of Americans will form “human murals” spelling out “IMPEACH!” with their bodies at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Coney Island in New York, the foot of the Washington monument in Washington, D.C., and other locations. And elsewhere people will spell it out… Continue reading

Bringing Down the House of Cards — The Final ‘Leg’ of the Journey

Bringing Down the House of Cards

The Final “Leg” of the Journey By Steve Bhaerman

Apologies in advance for sending such a long piece. There’s research and details that I felt work better as part of the text than a hyperlink.

It’s a bit of a mixed feeling to realize that millions and millions of people who didn’t get this distinction two, four or six years ago now understand that the “political’ issues we now face aren’t about right and left, they’re about right and wrong. On one hand, what took you so long? On the other, thank God and welcome aboard.

Although the media has downplayed it — it doesn’t fit with the general stupidization program of creating a lot of heat but very little light — more and more actual conservatives and even members of the religious right are coming to see the Bush-Cheney regime as a rogue administration and a thin cover for criminal enterprise. Such right wing stalwarts as former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr and Richard Viguerie (one of the architects of the far right wing) have formed an organization to protect our civil liberties from our own government. Chuck Baldwin, an associate of Jerry Falwell, has become an open advocate of impeachment and writes a very articulate column. These folks are far bolder than the Democrats in this regard, and they will play a key role when impeachment happens — and it will.

Now some of you reading this who have a deeper spiritual understanding… Continue reading

Articles of Impeachment To Be Filed Against Cheney

April 17, 2007

Source URL: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2007/04/articles_of_impeachment_to_be.html
by The Sleuth, Mary Ann Akers … “Behind the Scenes in Washington”

Washington Post — Looks like he’s reached his boiling point.

Impeach CheneyRep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the most liberal of the Democratic presidential candidates in the primary field, declared in a letter sent to his Democratic House colleagues this morning that he plans to file articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney.

Kucinich has made ending the war in Iraq the central theme of his campaign. He has even taken aim at the leading Democratic presidential candidates in the field for their votes on authorizing the war.

Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach the president, vice president and “all civil Officers of the United States” for “treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Sources tell the Sleuth that in light of the mass killings at Virginia Tech Monday, Kucinich’s impeachment plans have been put on hold. There will be no action this week, they say.

Kucinich’s office had no comment on the Congressman’s “Dear Colleague” letter — which apparently was drafted over the weekend, before the school massacre — or on what the focus of articles of impeachment against Cheney would be.

But Kucinich shouldn’t hold his breath on getting anywhere with his impeachment plan. “We’ll see a Kucinich Administration before we’ll see a Cheney impeachment,” quipped one Democratic aide.

Here is the text of his letter, a copy of which was forwarded to the Sleuth:

April 17, 2007

Dear Colleague:

This week I intend to introduce Articles of Impeachment with respect to the conduct of Vice President Cheney.…

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Bob Bowman Tours US, Calling All Patriots

The Patriots By Dr. Bob Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret.

The United States is in trouble. We’re in danger of becoming a fascist dictatorship where big government and big business combine to rule, and where the people are considered just a source of labor. The marriage of government and the investor class has succeeded in exporting our jobs, importing illegal aliens to provide a pool of cheap labor, and thus driving down wages for all American workers and destroying the middle class. Their foreign and military policies have led us into unnecessary wars of aggression to gain raw materials and enhance profits of the global robber barons. Their trade policies have resulted in capital flight, job loss, trade deficits, and the ownership of much of our infrastructure by foreign interests.

We’ve gotten into this fix because our presidents, of both parties, have been servants of the global investors, and because our representatives in Congress, again of both parties, have abdicated their Constitutional responsibilities and subjected themselves to an imperial presidency.

“..big government and big business combine to rule…”

We, the People of the United States of America , deserve better. We must demand a government which (1) follows the Constitution, (2) honors the truth, and (3) serves the people. We Patriots can bring about such a government by electing Patriots to Congress and recruiting Patriots already in government to our cause. It is always tempting to start yet another political party, but our system makes such a course futile. Until… Continue reading

Sibel Edmonds Needs Your Support: Urge Congressman Waxman to prompt hearings on the case of FBI Whistleblower

 

911Truth.org supports Sibel’s petition. Please contact the Henry Waxman’s office immediately. Also, demand that your legislators support this effort, add the blogspot link to your sites, and forward this information broadly. Demanding honest, thorough whistleblower hearings is critical to our efforts. Let’s give them a way to finally come forward!

 

Sibel Edmonds:Our top priority: to get public hearings on NS whistleblower cases. For this, we need public support; public pressure on certain target congressional offices. Before anything can be done, the public needs to know the truth. In order to achieve this, we need public hearings where whistleblowers can testify under oath, present witnesses and documents… More than 30 organizations have signed on and are sponsoring a new petition. We have set up a website specifically for this action campaign: http://letsibeledmondsspeak.blogspot.com.

This week, more than 30 ‘good government’ groups sent a petition to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform urging prompt hearings on the case of FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. The list of organizations includes the American Civil Liberties Union, Citizen Outreach, OMB Watch, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Government Accountability Project, Electronic Freedom Foundation, and the National Coalition against the Censorship.

We’ve had solid indications that the Chairman of the committee, Henry Waxman, is ready and willing to hold public, open hearings into Sibel Edmonds’ case; however, we need to give him a final push and get him to publicly commit to a date.

Sibel Edmonds is the most gagged person in American history.… Continue reading

Impeachment — Write Pelosi TODAY! Right now!!

Send 500,000 impeachment letters to Pelosi by her first day as speaker,
January 3

While arguing about whether we should demand impeachment in another thread,
someone said there had to be a “groundswell of support” like there
was for the impeachment of Nixon and cited this article:

“More than 50,000 telegrams poured in on Capitol Hill today, so many,
Western Union was swamped. Most of them demanded impeaching Mr. Nixon.”
John Chancellor, NBC News on a Special Report on October 20, 1973

We already have more support than that. When John Conyers took Bush his petition
demanding he answer questions about the Downing Street Memo, it had 540,000 signatures, over
ten times as many as wrote about Nixon. I would bet most of those people would
write to demand impeachment of Bush, probably more.

The great thing is, now we have someone to focus this demand on who can and
possibly will act (in spite of her protests to the contrary): Nancy Pelosi.

She should have a half million signatures waiting for her her first day as
Speaker of the House.

I think she and the many of the Democrats want to do this, but to overcome
the reluctance of the DC establishment and big money interests who are afraid
their ox will be gored along with Bush & Cheney, she needs constant overwhelming
evidence of public DEMAND not just support for impeachment.

Fax or snail mail the letter below or your own variation to:

FAX: 202-225-8259

Nancy Pelosi
2371 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

District Office:

450 Golden Gate Ave.…

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Into the Ring with Counterpunch on 9/11: How Alexander Cockburn, Otherwise So Bright, Blanks Out on 9/11 Evidence

by Michael Keefer
December 4, 2006

 

The first thing to say by way of preliminaries (and I’d better get it in quickly before someone suggests that I’ve turned up late or over-weight for a pre-match weighing-in) is that I’m not overjoyed with the pugilistic metaphor of my title.

But some sort of response to the volley of attacks on 9/11 researchers and activists with which the Counterpunch website marked the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 seems called for.

 

Show Editor’s Note: »

Michael Keefer strikes just the right tone in responding to Alexander Cockburn’s attempt to banish “conspiracy nuts” from the kingdom of the left.Keefer accounts for Cockburn’s hostility to conspiracy by locating him in the “class of academics and public intellectuals, for whom a migration of power into military, deep-political, and corporate-media hands may…. be difficult to acknowledge.” We’d add that when those intellectuals are wedded to a brand of analysis that cannot satisfactorily account for what they see transpiring before their eyes, that difficulty is only magnified.

Slowly but surely, the academic left is coming to understand that the deep politics paradigm offers the most promising analytic tools for understanding the dynamics of geopolitical struggle. Don’t be surprised by the discomfort associated with the paradigm shift to continue to produce rhetorically overheated, but substantively lacking, complaints like Cockburn’s for quite some time. But really, that’s his problem.

 
Counterpunch co-editor Alexander Cockburn set the tone of these pieces with an article describing theologian and ethicist David Ray Griffin, the author of The New Pearl Harbor (2004) and of The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (2005), as a “high priest” of the “conspiracy nuts””whom Cockburn denounces as cultists who “disdain all answers but their own,” who “seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant,” and who “pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, [".] contemptuously brush[ing] aside” evidence that contradicts their own “whimsical” treatment of “eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence.”

It’s a characteristically forceful performance, if at times slipshod. One small sign of carelessness may be the manner in which Cockburn slides from calling 9/11 skeptics a “coven” to comparing them, a few sentences later, to “mad Inquisitors” torturing the data (as the old joke goes about economists) until the data confess.” Readers brought up to think that the victims and perpetrators of witch-crazes have not customarily been the same people may find this unintentionally amusing.

Despite the sometimes distinctly nasty tone of this polemic, the idea of exchanging even metaphorical blows with Cockburn and his colleagues is unappealing. The overall quality of the essays that he and Jeffrey St. Clair publish in Counterpunch makes it easy on most days of the week to agree with Out of Bounds Magazine‘s description of it (trumpeted on Counterpunch‘s masthead) as “America’s best political newsletter.” And I’ve admired Cockburn’s own political essays for many years: he’s written movingly, sometimes brilliantly, on a wide range of subjects1 even if his flashes of brilliance sometimes alternate with breathtaking pratfalls: among them his dismissal, as recently as March 2001, of the evidence for global warming; his scoffing, in November 2004, at the rapidly gathering indications that the US presidential election of 2004 had been stolen; and a year later, his mockery of the well-established theory of peak oil and his adherence to the genuinely daft notion that the earth produces limitless quantities of abiotic oil.2 One can forgive a journalist’s slender grasp of the rudiments of scientific understanding. But given his self-appointed role as defender of the progressive left against a horde of fools, It’s dismaying to find him sliding as frequently as he does into positions that seem not just quirky but (dare I say it) unprogressive. Continue reading