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.
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
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
October 9, 2006
Dateline — Buenos Aires, Argentina
For some 30 years, the Argentine women known as the Madres (Mothers) de La
Plaza de Mayo have marched every Thursday in front of the Presidential Palace
of Argentina. They gather in memory of their children and grandchildren, who
were among the estimated 30,000 people who disappeared during “Operation
Condor.” Another 50,000 people were murdered.
(image: One of the Madres (Mothers) de la Plaza de Mayo displaying a photo of her son who was one of an estimated 30,000 “disappeared” during “Operation
photo taken on October 5, 2006)
Condor” reached its peak in the 1970s. With assistance from
the United States, and the support and knowledge of Henry Kissinger, five of
the southern cone South American nations conducted a campaign of unspeakable
torture and killing against their own citizens.
When you look at the photos carried by many of the Madres de La Plaza de Mayo,
you see middle class men in suits and ties and nicely dressed women. You see
young children with smiling faces.
What happened during Operation Condor is so horrific — all done in the name of the safety and security of “the nation” — that it is barely speakable. The torture included one of the Bush Administration’s favorite techniques — waterboarding — and many other methods. Families were forced to watch or listen to their love ones being mutilated. Friends were required to conduct torture on those that they knew.…Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
“Information Clearing House” — – I received a number of intelligent responses from readers of my August 14 column, “Gullible Americans,” The letters deserve a reply. Moreover, some contain important points that should be shared with a wider audience. Pundits such as myself are not the only people who have interesting things to say. Considering the number of letters and the time it would require to respond individually, I am replying instead in this column.
Most readers from whom I heard understand the difference between loyalty to country and loyalty to a government. They understand that to support a political party or a government that is destroying the US Constitution and America’s reputation in the world is, in fact, an act of treason. Therefore, I did not have to read the usual drivel about how doubting “our government” is un-American.
Among the issues raised are:
How could the complicity of the US government, or some part of it, in the events of 9/11 be kept a secret? For the most part, this question comes from Americans who believe the government must have been, to some extent, complicit in the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.
How can we differentiate between the real facts, the 9/11 Commission’s reporting of the facts, and “conspiracy theories”?
What about the role of suicide flyers led by M. Atta?
What about the Popular Mechanics article and the TV documentary that debunk the skeptics and support… Continue reading
Daniel Ellsberg is a former American military analyst employed by the RAND Corporation who precipitated a national firestorm in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, the US military’s account of activities during the Vietnam War, to The New York Times. The release awakened the American people to a systematic program of organized deception carried out by the Pentagon against the population to continue the Vietnam War.
Daniel Ellsberg, speaking on air to GCN radio host Jack Blood, stated his concerns that criminal elements of the US government were psychologically capable to have carried out 9/11.
“If there’s another 9/11 or a major war in the Middle-East involving a U.S. attack on Iran, I have no doubt that there will be, the day after or within days an equivalent of a Reichstag fire decree that will involve massive detentions in this country.”
- Daniel Ellsberg
Author, Pentagon Papers
Ellsberg said that he worked with individuals at the highest… Continue reading
By Mike Ferner
Over 500 people in the packed hall applauded eagerly when Dr. Bob Bowman stated he was an advocate of doctor-controlled, single-payer health care for all.
They cheered louder still when the congressional candidate from Florida’s 15th District pledged that his first piece of legislation submitted in the U.S. House of Representatives would be articles of impeachment.
But they simultaneously jumped to their feet and roared approval when he leaned over the podium and said he was running with a group of Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, Independents and non politicians “.who are all united by one thing. We want to bring our troops home from George Bush’s quagmire in Iraq and expose the lies that allowed him to send them there, including 9/11.”
Experienced in stumping on the campaign trail, Bowman was more dynamic than many of the speakers at the Chicago conference dubbed, “9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future,” but they all adamantly referred to the events of September 11, 2001 as the excuse George Bush needed to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.
At a news conference Friday that kicked off the weekend discussions, Mike Berger, media coordinator for 911truth.org, one of the sponsoring organizations, referred to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying, “The main justification for these wars are the lies put into the 911 report.” Citing bellicose statements made towards Iran by Bush administration officials, Berger added that “the course of history may hinge on getting these facts out.”
Barrie Zwicker, Canadian TV journalist and filmmaker, added that the U.S.…
by David Ray Griffin
This essay was originally delivered as a lecture at Trinity Episcopal Church of Santa Barbara, Saturday, March 25, 2006.
In this essay, I offer a Christian critique of the American empire in light of 9/11, and of 9/11 in light of the American empire. Such a critique, of course, presupposes a discussion of 9/11 itself, especially the question of who was responsible for the attacks. The official theory is that the attacks were planned and carried out entirely by Arab Muslims. The main alternative theory is that 9/11 was a “false flag” operation, orchestrated by forces within the US government who made it appear to be the work of Arab Muslims. …
I will argue that the attacks of 9/11 were false flag attacks, orchestrated to marshal support for a so-called war on terror against Muslim and Arab states as the next stage in creating a global Pax Americana, an all-inclusive empire. I will conclude this essay with its main question: How should Christians in America respond to the realization that we are living in an empire similar to the Roman empire at the time of Jesus, which put him to death for resistance against it.
by David Ray Griffin
April 28, 2006
Note: This essay was originally delivered as a lecture at Trinity Episcopal Church of Santa Barbara,… Continue reading
W. David Kubiak thought the 9/11 attacks would be a “wake up call.”
“Once you could accept 9/11, you could say, ‘I’ve really got to look at the world again with new eyes,’” he said during a recent phone interview with The Wire .
Kubiak is a member of the steering committee of 911truth.org , a group formed “to investigate, unearth, and widely publicize the full truth surrounding September 11th, 2001.”
It’s been three years since the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq, and while supporters and detractors of the war continue to debate the causes of and solutions to that conflict, one fact is almost indisputable: the long, bloody journey in Iraq began on Sept. 11, 2001.
I say almost indisputable because, in the world of the 9/11 truth movement, everything from photographic evidence to offhand statements and individual words are up for debate. The term “conspiracy theory” calls to mind images of a spider’s web. That’s an accurate description for the complex and intricately constructed narratives found in any number of conspiracy theories, but the actual building of conspiracy theories, the steady accumulation of new evidence, new proof, new witnesses, is more like sedimentary rock. A pebble here, a pebble there and, after a number of years, a looming monument to suspicion and paranoia.
But, as they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. We’ve got plenty of reason to be suspicious. Most recently, President George W. Bush has been stumping… Continue reading
By Neela Banerjee
The New York Times
Sunday 23 January 2005
A growing military truth movement picks up (and lets off) steam. Wait until they find out how deep the lies go. – Editor
Sean Huze enlisted in the Marine Corps right after the Sept. 11 attacks and was, in his own words, “red, white and blue all the way” when he deployed to Iraq 16 months later. Unquestioning in his support of the invasion, he grew irritated when his father, a former National Guardsman, expressed doubts about the war.
Today, all that has changed. Haunted by the civilian casualties he witnessed, Corporal Huze has become one of a small but increasing number of Iraq veterans who have formed or joined groups to oppose the war or to criticize the way it is being fought.
The two most visible organizations – Operation Truth, of which Corporal Huze is a member, and Iraq Veterans Against the War – were founded only last summer but are growing in membership and sophistication. The Internet has helped them spread their word and galvanize like-minded people in ways unimaginable to activist veterans of previous generations, who are also lending help.
“There’s strength in numbers,” Corporal Huze said. “By ourselves, we’re lone voices, a whisper in a swarm of propaganda out there. Combined, we can become a roar and have an impact on the issues that we care about.”
Those who turn to the groups are generally united in their disillusionment, though their responses to the… Continue reading
By Kathleen Maclay
22 July 2003 (revised 7/25/03)
BERKELEY — Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?
Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:
“From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination,” the researchers wrote in an article, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” recently published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin.
Assistant Professor Jack Glaser of the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Visiting Professor Frank Sulloway of UC Berkeley joined lead author, Associate Professor John Jost of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park, to analyze the literature on conservatism.
The psychologists sought patterns among 88 samples, involving 22,818 participants, taken from journal articles, books and conference papers. The material originating from 12 countries included speeches and interviews given by politicians, opinions and verdicts rendered by judges, as well as experimental, field and survey studies.
Ten meta-analytic calculations performed on… Continue reading