David Ray Griffin
A right-wing neocon organization called the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD)1 — which devotes itself to attacking religiously and socially progressive churches while supporting US imperial policies (going back to the Nicaraguan Contras funded illegally by the Reagan administration2 ) — has recently put out a press release attacking my next book, which is scheduled to be published this coming fall. Saying that I am “back with another outrageous book” in which I allege “new absurdities,” the IRD claims that I am “this time alleging that the Obama administration is attempting to undermine 9/11 conspiracy theorists.”3
Last September, Dr. Griffin was interviewed by God TV, the End Times show. It reaches over 100 million people worldwide by TV, plus others on the Internet.
It was aired on Friday night at 5:30 PM PDT and turned out to be an excellent interview, really professional. The hosts, Rory and Wendy, are gracious and delightful. Just a simple, straightforward interview that freed David to take his time to explain things. It’s also on their website: http://www.god.tv/video/play?video=1219. Part 2 will be shown live this Friday at 5:30 Pacific, 8:30 PM Eastern. [Originally posted at 911blogger.com]
False Assumptions about My Forthcoming Book
However, if members of the IRD staff could have waited until my book had been published, so they could have read it before attacking it, they could have seen that it does no such thing. They could have seen that it simply deals with an article, entitled “Conspiracy Theories,” co-authored in 2008 by Cass Sunstein and another professor at Harvard Law School.4 Using the “9/11 conspiracy theory” as their primary example of conspiracy theories, Sunstein and his co-author argued that the government should try to undermine it and that the best way to do this would be through a method they called “cognitive infiltration.” In 2009, President Obama appointed Sunstein as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.5 My forthcoming book is entitled Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory. Neither the title nor the book itself suggests that Obama will have Sunstein actually carry out this plan.
The IRD’s premature criticism of my book is also wrong on another point. By speaking of what I will be “alleging,” the IRD was supporting its press release’s title, “9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Dreaming Up New Absurdities.” The IRD’s suggestion, in other words, is that I simply “dreamed up” the “absurdity” that someone connected to the Obama administration had a proposal for undermining 9/11 conspiracy theorists. However, the proposal made by Sunstein has been extensively discussed on the Internet.6 With a little research, therefore, the IRD could have learned that I had not simply made something up.
Unsupported Charges about Previous Books
To move now to the main problem with the IRD’s attack: By speaking of my “new absurdities,” the IRD implies that I have previously published books containing absurdities. The IRD, however, does not provide any evidence to support this charge.
Rather, the author of this press release, Jeff Walton, simply quotes from a press release that he wrote in 2006 about one of my previous books, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11, which had been published that year.7 Although this earlier press release by Walton was entitled “IRD: Presbyterian-Published 9/11 Conspiracy Book is Absurd,” it presented no evidence to support this charge. Walton simply quoted the IRD’s own Mark Tooley — a former CIA analyst who is now IRD’s president8 — as calling my book “absurd revisionist history.”9 But this characterization was not accompanied by any evidence to support it.
That 2006 press release was based, in turn, on a review of my 2006 book (Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11) by Tooley, which he had published in William Kristol’s neocon magazine, The Weekly Standard.10 Aside from a few factual errors and snide comments, this was a fairly decent review, which for the most part simply explicated the book’s central ideas. At the end, however, Tooley referred to “the nuttiness of Professor Griffin and his colleagues in the curia of old-line Protestantism who agree with his theories”11 — by whom he meant fellow theologians, such as Rosemary Ruether and the late William Sloane Coffin Jr., who had written blurbs for my book. But Tooley provided no evidence for his ascription of “nuttiness” to me and thereby to Ruether and Coffin (two of America’s greatest religious leaders).
So, without offering any evidence, the IRD’s Walton and Tooley have characterized my 9/11 books as “outrageous,” “absurd,” and “nutty.” Perhaps thinking these adjectives insufficient, they in this new press release added a new one, speaking of Griffin’s “silly theories.”12 They must, therefore, consider it self-evidently outrageous, absurd, nutty, and silly to suggest that the Bush-Cheney White House was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. What would be the basis for this supposed self-evidence?
Was the Bush administration too moral? Perhaps they mean that the Bush-Cheney White House could not, given their moral principles, have deliberately done something that would lead to thousands of American deaths. We now know, however, that this administration told lots of lies, one of which was the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Although some people still claim that the Bush-Cheney administration was simply misled by bad intelligence, a briefing to the Blair cabinet by the head of British intelligence in July 2002, which was leaked to the press in 2005, showed that the Bush administration was planning to go to war against Saddam Hussein because of intelligence reports that he had weapons of mass destruction, and that they could guarantee that these reports would be forthcoming because “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy [of going to war].”13 The resulting war in Iraq has by now caused the deaths of more Americans than did the 9/11 attacks.
Another example: A week after 9/11, the EPA issued a statement about the World Trade Center site, saying that the “air is safe to breathe.”14 But this was false, and now more than half of the 40,000 rescue and clean-up workers suffer from cancer, lung disease, asthma, or other debilitating illnesses, and some have already died.15 Dr. Cate Jenkins, an EPA scientist, later testified that the EPA’s false statement about the air was not a mistake, but a lie. Why did the EPA lie?16 According to EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley, pressure came from the White House, which “convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete cautionary ones,” as a result of which workers did not wear protective gear.17 More people are likely to die from this lie than died on 9/11.
Given these facts, why would the IRD consider it self-evident that the Bush administration could not have orchestrated 9/11?
Appeal to the Official Reports: Even if the IRD would grant this point, it might still assert that al-Qaeda’s responsibility for 9/11 has been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt by official reports, such as The 9/11 Commission Report and the reports on the destruction of the World Trade Center by NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology).
However, The 9/11 Commission Report was essentially written by Philip Zelikow, who was virtually a member of the Bush administration. Zelikow’s continued relations with Karl Rove and Condoleezza Rice while he was running the Commission are described in a book by former New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, who also pointed out that Zelikow had outlined the report, “complete with ‘chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-subheadings,'” before his staff — which was supposedly going to determine through its investigations what really happened — had begun its work.18 I have, moreover, shown at great length that the resulting report is completely untrustworthy, being full of omissions, distortions, and outright lies.19
NIST’s reports are no better. This is not surprising, because NIST is an agency of the Commerce Department. During the years in which its reports on the Twin Towers and World Trade Center 7 were produced, therefore, it was an agency of the Bush administration, which was notorious for, in the words of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends.”20 A former NIST scientist reported, moreover, that NIST had been “fully hijacked from the scientific into the political realm,” so that the scientists employed by it “lost [their] scientific independence, and became little more than ‘hired guns.'”21 Not surprisingly, therefore, the resulting reports by NIST were completely unscientific.
Having shown this with regard to NIST’s 2005 report on the Twin Towers in my 2007 book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking,22 I showed it with regard to NIST’s 2008 report on Building 7 in my 2009 book, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 Is Unscientific and False.
Walton and Tooley at IRD, of course, dismiss my books as absurd and even silly. In their 2006 press release, they sought to bolster this charge by implying that my books are endorsed only by some “colleagues in the curia of old-line Protestantism.”23
Already at that time, however, my 9/11 books had also been endorsed by professors of economics, history, philosophy, and international law, as well as by former members of the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, including the CIA, and by a member of the British Parliament (as anyone can see by looking at the “editorial reviews” on Amazon.com). My more recent books have been endorsed by a member of the Japanese Senate, a former US governor, by 9/11 widows (including members of the “Jersey Girls,” who were instrumental in getting the 9/11 Commission established), by engineers (including Jack Keller, who has been given special recognition by Scientific American), and by several natural scientists (one of whom was awarded the National Medal of Science24). Does IRD believe that such people endorse silly books?
Moreover, my 2006 book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, was given a Bronze Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, and my 2008 book, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, was a Publishers Weekly “Pick of the Week” in November 2008.25 Publishers Weekly has been the standard reviewer of new and forthcoming books for libraries and the publishing trade since the late 19th century, and “Pick of the Week” is an honor it gives to only 51 books a year. Does IRD believe that this prestigious organization would risk its reputation by bestowing this honor on a book full of silly theories?
All of this information is readily available on the Internet. Does the IRD not do the minimal research it would take to learn such facts before it issues its press releases, or does it simply not want its readers to know? In either case, the IRD is clearly in the business of issuing propaganda, not objective, balanced information.
This fact is illustrated by its new press release’s one-sided use of the term “conspiracy theorist.” Besides referring to me in the title as simply “9/11 Conspiracy Theorist” — rather than, say, “Otherwise Respectable Philosopher of Religion and Theologian” — the press release also complains that some churches are hosting my “upcoming conspiracy-laden lectures.” The IRD hence uses the standard technique of people who seek to protect the official account of 9/11 by dismissing all critics, no matter how well-credentialed, as “conspiracy theorists,” thereby implying that they have such kooky beliefs that their claims can be dismissed without examination.
As philosopher Charles Pigden points out in an article entitled “Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom”:
“[T]o call someone ‘a conspiracy theorist’ is to suggest that he is irrational, paranoid or perverse. Often the suggestion seems to be that conspiracy theories are not just suspect, but utterly unbelievable, too silly to deserve the effort of a serious refutation. It is a common ploy on the part of politicians to dismiss critical allegations by describing them as conspiracy theories.”26
However, Pigden further points out, “a conspiracy theory is simply a theory that posits a conspiracy — a secret plan on the part of some group to influence events by partly secret means.”27 Or, as my dictionary puts it, a conspiracy is “an agreement to perform together an illegal, treacherous, or evil act.”28 Therefore, to be a “conspiracy theorist” about some event — such as a sudden rise in the price of oil, or the mysterious death of a neighbor, or the robbery of the local 7/11 store — is simply to believe that this event came about as a result of a conspiracy.
According to the official account of 9/11, the attacks resulted from a secret agreement between Osama bin Laden, other al-Qaeda leaders (such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed), and 19 young members of the organization, who volunteered to hijack the airliners. The official account is, therefore, a conspiracy theory. The original conspiracy theorists about 9/11 were, therefore, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and the heads of the CIA and the FBI. I have been pointing out this fact since my first book,29 and I emphasized it with the subtitle of Debunking 9/11 Debunking, namely: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory.
If Walton and Tooley had somehow missed this fact — that the official story about 9/11 is a conspiracy theory — they could have learned it from my book about Cass Sunstein’s article — if, again, they could have resisted attacking it until after they had read it. “The theory that Al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11 is” — they could have seen that Sunstein himself acknowledged — “a . . . conspiracy theory.” Sunstein’s complete statement is: “The theory that Al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11 is thus a justified and true conspiracy theory.”30 The point is that there are true and false conspiracy theories. As Charles Pigden puts it:
“Some conspiracy theories are sensible and some are silly, but if they are silly this is not because they are conspiracy theories but because they suffer from some specific defect — for instance, that the conspiracies they postulate are impossible or far-fetched. But conspiracy theories as such are . . . no less worthy of belief than theories of other kinds.”31
Accordingly, if Walton and Tooley are to show that my theory about 9/11 is silly, they cannot do this simply by pointing out that I hold a conspiracy theory about 9/11, because they do too, insofar as they endorse the government’s account. They must provide some evidence that the theory that I hold is less sensible — less in accord with scientific principles and with the relevant empirical evidence — than the one they hold. And this they have not done.
Which Is the Silly 9/11 Conspiracy Theory?
Members of the 9/11 Truth Movement, by contrast, have provided evidence — an enormous amount of evidence, in fact — showing that the official conspiracy theory is simply not believable. I will give six examples:
- Long before 9/11, the standard operating procedures for intercepting airplanes with in-flight emergencies had been finely tuned, so that planes experiencing such emergencies were usually intercepted within about 10 minutes. But on the morning of 9/11, we are told, these standard procedures failed four times in a row, even though the airliners were flying 20 or 30 minutes after they showed clear signs of experiencing in-flight emergencies. Especially unbelievable is the idea that the Pentagon, surely the most well-protected building on the planet, could have been struck by a hijacked airliner over 30 minutes after it had shown signs of being in trouble, and also over 30 minutes after both of the Twin Towers had been struck. If the Bush administration and the Pentagon had believed that America was under attack by terrorists using hijacked airliners as weapons, the airspace over the nation’s capital would have been heavily protected by fighter jets.32
- The very idea that the airliners were hijacked is rendered unbelievable by a conjunction of many facts: First, all the evidence for the presence of hijackers on the airliners falls apart upon examination. For example, the best-known evidence consisted of the alleged phone calls from passengers and crew members, but the FBI now says that the two phone calls from Barbara Olson on American Flight 77 reported by her husband, US Solicitor General Ted Olson, never happened, and the FBI also now denies that any of those reported high-altitude cell phone calls occurred. Second, in addition to the lack of evidence for hijackers, there is even positive evidence that there were no hijackers: neither the autopsy report for Flight 77 nor the passenger manifests for any of the four flights contained the names of the alleged hijackers, or any Arab names whatsoever; and although it takes only about two seconds for pilots to use the plane’s transponder to “squawk” the standard hijack code, not a single pilot did this, even though it supposedly took the hijackers some time — about 30 seconds on United Flight 93 — to break into the cockpit.33
- The claim that the planes were taken over by Muslim hijackers is further disproved by the absurdity of the claim that Hani Hanjour took control of American Flight 77 and flew it into the Pentagon. Hanjour was known to be a terrible pilot. One of Hanjour’s instructors, reported the New York Times, said: “He could not fly at all.”34 Only a couple of months before 9/11, moreover, a flight instructor refused to go up with Hanjour a second time in a single-engine plane, considering it too dangerous.35 According to the official story, nevertheless, Hanjour flew a giant airliner with almost superhuman skill. The trajectory reportedly taken by Flight 77 — “execut[ing] a pivot so tight that it reminded observers of a fighter jet maneuver,” said the Washington Post36 — would have been so difficult for a Boeing 757 that pilots with years of experience flying these planes have said they could not have done it. Russ Wittenberg, who flew large commercial airliners for 35 years after serving in Vietnam as a fighter pilot, says it would have been “totally impossible for an amateur who couldn’t even fly a Cessna” to have flown that downward spiral and then “crash into the Pentagon’s first floor wall without touching the lawn.”37 Ralph Kolstad, who was a US Navy “top gun” pilot before becoming a commercial airline pilot for 27 years, has said: “I have 6,000 hours of flight time in Boeing 757’s and 767’s and I could not have flown it the way the flight path was described.”38
- Although NIST claimed that it found no evidence that explosives were used to bring down the Twin Towers and WTC 7, what it really did was simply ignore a huge amount of evidence, including: (i) testimonies about explosions in the buildings by over 150 credible people, including police officers, journalists, WTC employees, and more than 100 members of the Fire Department of New York;39 (ii) particles of iron, molybdenum, and other metals in the WTC dust that could have been produced only by temperatures much hotter than the buildings’ fires could have reached;40 and (iii) particles of nanothermite, a high-explosive, in the dust.41
- Even with all of that denial, NIST’s explanations of the collapses of the Twin Towers and WTC 7 violate elementary laws of physics. A recent essay in one of our leading social science journals, discussing the fact that physicist Steven Jones was forced to resign because of his conclusions about the World Trade Center, says: “Professor Steven Jones found himself forced out of [a] tenured position for merely reminding the world that physical laws, about which there is no dissent whatsoever, contradict the official theory of the World Trade Center Towers’ collapse.”42
- NIST’s most obvious violation of physical laws occurred in its final report on WTC 7, which appeared in November 2008. In the draft version of this report, which had appeared in August, NIST had denied the claim made by scientists in the 9/11 Truth Movement that this building had come down in virtual free fall. NIST claimed instead that its descent had taken “approximately 40 percent longer than the computed free fall time.”43 NIST even explained — while presupposing its own theory of the collapse, according to which it was caused by fire, not explosives — why a free-fall, or even virtual free-fall, collapse would have been impossible.44 But after physicist David Chandler demonstrated, in a YouTube video, that the top floor had come down in absolute free fall for over two seconds,45 NIST acknowledged this fact in its final report, but without changing its theory.46 NIST thereby affirmed a miracle, in the sense of a violation of laws of physics — a fact that NIST implicitly admitted by removing all its previous assurances that its explanation of WTC 7’s collapse was “consistent with physical principles.”47 The fact that Building 7 came down in absolute free fall for over two seconds, thereby forcing NIST to affirm a miracle, has shown, more clearly than any other feature of the official account of 9/11, that the government’s conspiracy theory is the silly one.
The obvious falseness of NIST’s accounts of the Twin Towers and WTC 7 is shown by the fact that some 1200 licensed architects and engineers have already joined Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which is calling for a new investigation of the World Trade Center.48
In describing my position as silly, of course, IRD does not mention the existence of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. It also does not point out that there are many other organizations of professionals expressing disbelief in the official theory, including Firefighters for 9/11 Truth,49 Intelligence Officers for 9/11 Truth,50 Journalists and Other Media Professionals for 9/11 Truth,51 Lawyers for 9/11 Truth,52 Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth,53 Pilots for 9/11 Truth,54 Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth,55 Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth,56 Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice57 and Veterans for 9/11 Truth.58 Although one would never suspect this from reading the IRD press release, the weight of expert opinion — among people in the relevant professions who have examined the evidence and are not dependent upon the government for their livelihood — is almost entirely on the side of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Among these professionals, it is the official conspiracy theory, endorsed by IRD, that is considered silly.
It is possible, of course, that Tooley and Walton are unaware of these developments, because their new press release is, except for a little updating, a word-for-word repetition of their 2006 attack on my work, and most of these 9/11 professional organizations have been formed since 2006. So it is possible that they have simply not kept abreast of the developments of the past four years.
Further Errors and Distortions
In any case, besides getting the big issue entirely wrong, the new IRD press release contains several other errors and distortions.
For example, referring to the fact that I had earlier documented the fact that the US government had in previous decades used false pretexts to go to war — such as the Tonkin Gulf attacks (which everyone now agrees never happened59) and the lie on which the Mexican-American war was based (which a congressman named Abraham Lincoln denounced as the “sheerest deception”60) — Walton and Tooley claim that I thereby make “the entire nation complicit in the [9/11] attack.” However, as Tooley, with his CIA background, surely knows, the fact that the US government has used false pretexts to start wars and overthrow governments is no longer a debatable issue, but is instead recognized by mainstream authors.61 Also, to acknowledge that our government has engaged in such activities in no way makes the “entire nation,” much of which protests these activities, complicit in them. I certainly do not see myself as complicit in the 9/11 attacks or the other crimes of the Bush-Cheney administration. (Whether Tooley and Walton, as supporters of the neoconservative movement, regard themselves as complicit, only they can answer.62)
Even presuming to inform people about my theological beliefs, although neither of them apparently has a theological degree, Walton and Tooley, repeating a statement made in their 2006 attack, say: “Griffin is a process theologian who believes that God is constantly evolving.” This is a one-sided description of process theologians commonly used by defenders of traditional theism to imply that we are ethical relativists. Whether that was Walton and Tooley’s intent, I do not know. But if they had checked any of the books in which I discuss the nature of God, they would see that I, like all Whiteheadian-Hartshornean process theologians, affirm a “dipolar theism,” according to which, on the one hand, God interacts with the world and hence constantly has new experiences, but that, on the other hand, God’s nature — as omnipresent, compassionate, and supportive of justice — is unchanging.63
Walton and Tooley also claim — simply repeating a statement made in their 2006 critique of my Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11 — that I hold Jesus’ “real agenda” to be “the overthrow of the Roman Empire.” But as anyone who actually reads that book can see, I say no such thing. What I do say, following New Testament scholar Richard Horsley, is that Jesus preached “an anti-imperial gospel,” which was critical of Rome’s economic and political oppression of the Jewish people and anticipated a time in which the Roman Empire would be replaced by a decent political-economic order, in which everyone had their “daily bread.” But neither I, nor Horsley, nor any of the other New Testament scholars I cited believe that Jesus was a revolutionary in the sense of one who proposed taking up arms against Rome.64 Tooley simply read an inflammatory — even silly — meaning into my discussion of Jesus’ message as based on recent New Testament scholarship.
To compound the silliness, Tooley and Walton then add that “Griffin,” like his Jesus, “wants to overthrow the American ’empire.'” What in the world might this mean? I have certainly written against American imperialism and the American empire.65 And I certainly do not, like Walton and Tooley, put “empire” in scare quotes to suggest that there is no such thing as an American empire (the existence of which even some of their fellow neocons, such as Max Boot and Charles Krauthammer, acknowledge66). I have certainly said I would like to see the present anarchical world order, in which disputes between nations can finally be resolved only by power (whether military or economic), replaced by a democratic world order, in which disputes between nations would be resolved — like disputes between states in the USA — in courts of law.67 But I have no idea how Walton and Tooley imagine I might try to “overthrow the American empire.”
In addition, the IRD press release even has details about me and my upcoming tour wrong. With regard to me, it says that I am a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth. But I am instead a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice, which is an entirely different organization. With regard to my 15-city tour, the IRD says that it will “feature stops at Episcopal and United Methodist Churches.” Now I happen to be very fond of Episcopalians (my wife is one), and I have spoken in Episcopal churches,68 but as one can see from the itinerary for my tour,69 no Episcopal church is mentioned.
Why might Walton and Tooley have made such an easily avoidable mistake? Perhaps because of a special animus toward the Episcopal Church, due to its full affirmation of gay rights,70 Walton and Tooley succumbed to wishful thinking, hoping to use me to damn that communion (along with the United Methodist Church, which is another denomination that is especially targeted by the IRD71). This supposition is suggested by Tooley’s statement that “both Episcopal and United Methodist churches [are] hosting [Griffin’s] upcoming conspiracy-laden lectures.”
But whatever the explanation, this relatively trivial error in the press release provides one more example of the fact that no claims made by the IRD should be trusted, unless they are supported by reputable sources. In fact, given the number and the seriousness of the errors and distortions in this tiny press release, one might wonder why anyone takes the IRD seriously. Probably few people would, except that it receives heavy funding, primarily from secular right-wing foundations, with which it can cause considerable mischief.72
Be that as it may, I will close by saying to the IRD what a New England preacher of an earlier century said to a debate opponent: “I cannot permit your ignorance, however vast, to take precedence over my knowledge, however limited.”73
1 See Frederick Clarkson, “The Battle for the Mainline Churches,” The Public Eye, Spring 2006 (http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v20n1/clarkson_battle.html); Andrew J. Weaver et al., “The Radical Right Assault on Mainline Protestantism and the National Council of Churches of Christ,” Talk to Action, March 3, 2006 (http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/3/3/18370/16528).
2 “Institute on Religion and Democracy,” Source Watch, 1998 (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Institute_on_Religion_and_Democracy); “Institute on Religion and Democracy,” IPS Right Web (Tracking Militarists’ Efforts to Influence U.S. Foreign Policy), February 25, 2007 (http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Institute_on_Religion_and_Democracy).
3 Jeff Walton, “9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Dreaming Up New Absurdities,” Institute on Religion and Democracy, April 15, 2010 (http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/8442913627.html).
4 Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, “Conspiracy Theories.” This article first appeared as a Preliminary Draft, January 15, 2008 (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585#%23). On August 18, 2008, a briefer and otherwise revised version of this article appeared on the Internet with an expanded title: “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures.” In 2009, this revised version was published in the Journal of Political Philosophy, 17/2 (June 2009), 202-27.
5 This office, known as OIRA, is under the Office of Management and Budget
(http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg_administrator). See “President Obama Announces Another Key OMB Post,” The White House, April 20, 2009 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Obama-Announces-Another-Key-OMB-Post).
6 See, e.g., Marc Estrin, “Your Government Appointees at Work: Cass Sunstein Seeks ‘Cognitive’ Provocateurs,” The Rag Blog, January 11, 2010 (http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/got-fascism-obama-advisor-promotes.html); “Open letter from Cyril Wecht to Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule,” Real History Blog, January 26, 2010 (http://realhistoryarchives.blogspot.com/2010/01/open-letter-from-cyril-wecht-to-cass.html); John Stossel, “Stealth Propaganda,” Fox Business, January 18, 2010 (http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/01/18/stealth-propaganda/?test=latestnews); Bill Willers, “An Attack from Harvard Law on the Escalating 9/11 Truth Movement,” OpEdNews, February 4, 2010 (http://www.opednews.com/articles/AN-ATTACK-FROM-HARVARD-LAW-by-Bill-Willers-100203-909.html); Mark Crispin Miller, “Obama’s Info Chief Advocates Disinformation and Domestic Covert Ops,” OpEdNews, January 15, 2010 (http://www.opednews.com/articles/Obama-s-Info-Chief-advocat-by-Mark-Crispin-Mille-100115-63.html); Glenn Greenwald, “Obama Confidant’s Spine-Chilling Proposal,” Salon.com, January 15, 2010 (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/01/15/sunstein).
7 David Ray Griffin, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2006).
8 “Mark Tooley” (Staff Bio), Institute on Religion and Democracy (http://www.theird.org/Page.aspx?pid=212&srcid=183). According to Steven D. Martin, the IRD’s bio on Tooley mentioned his former CIA employment only after this fact had been revealed by others (“Web Site Shows IRD on the Defensive,” Talk To Action, February 8, 2008 [http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/2/8/111843/7251]).
9 “IRD: Presbyterian-Published 9/11 Conspiracy Book is Absurd,” Press Release, Institute of Religion and Democracy, September 26, 2006 (http://www.ird-renew.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=fvKVLfMVIsG&b=390529&ct=2925837).
10 Mark Tooley, “The Truth Behind 9/11,” Weekly Standard.com, August 23, 2006 (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/601dxsap.asp).
11 Tooley, “The Truth Behind 9/11.”
12 Walton, “9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Dreaming Up New Absurdities,” final sentence.
13 David Manning, “The Secret Downing Street Memo: Secret and Strictly Personal–UK Eyes Only,” Sunday Times (London), May 1, 2005 (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html). For discussion, see Ray McGovern, “Proof the Fix Was In,” Antiwar.com, May 5, 2005 (http://www.antiwar.com/mcgovern/index.php?articleid=5844).
14 EPA, Press Release, September 18, 2001 (http://www.epa.gov/wtc/stories/headline_091801.htm).
15 See Anthony DePalma, “Illness Persisting in 9/11 Workers, Big Study Finds,” New York Times, September 6, 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/06/nyregion/06health.html); Kristen Lombardi, “Death by Dust: The Frightening Link between the 9-11 Toxic Cloud and Cancer,” Village Voice, November 28th, 2006 (http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20061204132809573); Jerry Mazza, “9/11’s Second Round of Slaughter,” Online Journal, January 16, 2008 (http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_2845.shtml); “New Horror for Heroes: First Proof of Higher Cancer Rate among World Trade Center Responders,” Editorial, New York Daily News, August 13, 2009 (http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/08/13/2009-08-13_new_horror_for_heroes_first_proof_of_higher_cancer_rate_among_world_trade_center.html); “9/11 Ground Zero and Mesothelioma,” Mesolink.org, Disabled World, October 8, 2009 (http://www.disabled-world.com/health/cancer/mesothelioma/ground-zero.php); Ed Pilkington, “9/11’s Delayed Legacy: Cancer for Many of the Rescue Workers,” Guardian, November 11, 2009 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/11/cancer-new-york-rescuers).
16 “Insider: EPA Lied about WTC Air,” CBS News, September 8, 2006 (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/08/earlyshow/main1985804.shtml).
17 EPA Office of Inspector General, “EPA’s Response to the World Trade Center Collapse,” August 21, 2003, Executive Summary and Chapter 2 (http://www.mindfully.org/Air/2003/EPA-WTC-OIG-Evaluation21aug03.htm); discussed in “White House Edited EPA’s 9/11 Reports,” by John Heilprin, Associated Press, August 23, 2003 (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/136350_epa23.html). On the failure to wear protective gear, see “Ground Zero Workers Not Protected by Federal Officials,” Medical News Today, September 9, 2006 (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/healthnews.php?newsid=51498).
18 Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (New York: Twelve, 2008), 238-40.
19 David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press (Interlink Books), 2005); Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2007), Chap. 2; and The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2008), Chap. 10.
20 Union of Concerned Scientists, “2004 Scientist Statement on Restoring Scientific Integrity to Federal Policymaking” (http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/abuses_of_science/scientists-sign-on-statement.html). By the end of 2008, the UCS statement containing this charge had been signed by over 15,000 scientists, including 52 Nobel Laureates and 63 recipients of the National Medal of Science.
21 “NIST Whistleblower,” October 1, 2007 (http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2007/10/former-nist-employee-blows-whistle.html).
22 Griffin, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, Chap. 3.
23 “IRD: Presbyterian-Published 9/11 Conspiracy Book is Absurd.”
24 Lynn Margulis, “Two Hit, Three Down – The Biggest Lie,” Rock Creek Free Press, January 24, 2010 (http://rockcreekfreepress.tumblr.com/post/353434420/two-hit-three-down-the-biggest-lie).
25 Publishers Weekly, November 24, 2008 (http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6617001.html?industryid=47159).
26 Charles Pigden, “Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom,” Episteme, 4 (2007), 219-32, at 219.
27 Ibid., 222.
28 The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (The American Heritage Publishing Co., 1969).
29 The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (Northampton: Olive Branch Press (Interlink Books), 2004), xxiv-xxv.
30 Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule, “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” Journal of Political Philosophy, 17/2 (June 2009): 202-27, at 208.
31 Pigden, “Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom,” 219, 221.
32 See Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, Chaps. 11-15; Debunking 9/11 Debunking, Chap. 1; The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, Chaps. 1-2.
33 Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, Chap. 6.
34 Jim Yardley, “A Trainee Noted for Incompetence,” New York Times, May 4, 2002 (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/04/us/a-trainee-noted-for-incompetence.html).
35 The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, authorized edition (New York: W. W. Norton, 2004), 242.
36 Marc Fisher and Don Phillips, “On Flight 77: ‘Our Plane Is Being Hijacked,'” Washington Post, September 12, 2001 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A14365-2001Sep11).
37 Quoted in Greg Szymanski, “Former Vietnam Combat and Commercial Pilot Firm Believer 9/11 Was Inside Government Job,” Arctic Beacon, July 17, 2005 (http://www.arcticbeacon.com/articles/17-Jul-2005.html).
38 Alan Miller, “U.S. Navy ‘Top Gun’ Pilot Questions 911 Pentagon Story,” OpedNews.com, September 5, 2007 (http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_alan_mil_070905_u_s__navy__top_gun__.htm).
39 See David Ray Griffin, “Explosive Testimony: Revelations about the Twin Towers in the 9/11 Oral Histories,” January 18, 2006 (http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20060118104223192), reprinted in slightly revised form as Chapter 2 of Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11; and Graeme MacQueen, “118 Witnesses: The Firefighters’ Testimony to Explosions in the Twin Towers,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, Vol. 2: August 2006 (http://www.journalof911studies.com/articles/Article_5_118Witnesses_WorldTradeCenter.pdf): 49-123.
40 See Griffin, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7, Chap. 4, “NIST’s Ignoring of Physical Evidence for Explosives.”
42 Matthew T. Witt, “Pretending Not to See or Hear, Refusing to Signify: The Farce and Tragedy of Geocentric Public Affairs Scholarship,” American Behavioral Scientist 53 (February 2010): 921-39 (http://abs.sagepub.com/content/vol53/issue6), at 932 (emphasis in original).
43 NIST NCSTAR 1-9, Structural Fire Response and Probable Collapse Sequence of World Trade Center Building 7, Draft for Public Comment, August 2008, Vol. 2 (http://wtc.nist.gov/media/NIST_NCSTAR_1-9_vol2_for_public_comment.pdf), 595-96.
44 “WTC 7 Technical Briefing,” NIST, August 26, 2008. The transcript, entitled “NIST Technical Briefing on Its Final Draft Report on WTC 7 for Public Comment,” can be read at David Chandler’s website (http://911speakout.org/NIST_Tech_Briefing_Transcript.pdf).
46 NIST NCSTAR 1-9, Structural Fire Response and Probable Collapse Sequence of World Trade Center Building 7, November 2008, Vol. 2 (http://wtc.nist.gov/NCSTAR1/PDF/NCSTAR%201-9%20Vol%202.pdf), 607.
47 Griffin, The Mysterious Collapse, 231, 236-37, 239, 241.
59 “The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 40 Years Later,” National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 132, ed. by John Prados, August 4, 2004 (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB132/index.htm); Gareth Porter, “Robert McNamara Deceived LBJ on Gulf of Tonkin, Documents Show,” Raw Story, July 8, 2009 (http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/07/08/robert-mcnamara-deceived-lbj-on-gulf-of-tonkin/).
60 Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (1980; New York: HarperPerennial, 1990), 150. Richard Van Alstyne, The Rising American Empire (1960; New York, Norton, 1974), 143.
61 See, for example, Steven Kinzer, Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (New York: Times Books [Henry Holt], 2006).
62 On the possible relationship of the neoconservative movement to 9/11, see David Ray Griffin, “Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq,” Information Clearing House, February 27, 2007 (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17194.htm), which is a slightly revised version of Chap. 6 of my Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11.
63 See David Ray Griffin, Reenchantment without Supernaturalism: A Process Philosophy of Religion (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001), Chap. 4, “Naturalistic, Dipolar Theism.” For an older treatment, see John B. Cobb, Jr., and David Ray Griffin, Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1976), Chap. 3, “God as Creative-Responsive Love” (for which I was the primary author).
64 See Griffin, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11, at 112-16.
65 See Chapter 1, “America’s Non-Accidental, Non-Benign Empire,” in David Ray Griffin, John B. Cobb, Jr., Richard Falk, and Catherine Keller, The American Empire and the Commonwealth of God: A Political, Economic, Religious Statement (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006).
66 See Max Boot, “The Case for American Empire,” Weekly Standard, October 15, 2001; “American Imperialism? No Need to Run Away from Label,” USA Today, May 6, 2003 (http://www.cfr.org/publication.html?id=5934); Charles Krauthammer, “Universal Dominion: Toward a Unipolar World,” National Interest, 18 (Winter 1989: 47-49; “The Unipolar Moment,” Foreign Affairs 70, Winter 1990 (http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19910201faessay6067/charles-krauthammer/the-unipolar-moment.html); “Bless Our Pax Americana,” Washington Post, March 22, 1991.
67 See Chap. 6, “Global Empire or Global Democracy: The Present Choice,” in Griffin et al., The American Empire and the Commonwealth of God.
68 See David Ray Griffin and the Rev. George F. Regas, “9/11, American Empire, and Christian Faith,” lectures delivered at Trinity Episcopal Church, Santa Barbara, California, March 25, 2006 (DVD available at KenJenkins@aol.com).
69 “David Ray Griffin’s April/May 2010 Speaking Tour Itinerary” (http://www.ts911t.org/DavidRayGriffinAprilMay2010TourInfo).
70 See Frederick Clarkson, “The Battle for the Mainline Churches,” The Public Eye, Spring 2006 (http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v20n1/clarkson_battle.html); Jim Naughton, “Following the Money,” Episcopal Diocese of Washington (http://www.edow.org/follow/part1.html). Jeff Walton is the director of IRD’s Anglican Action Program (http://www.theird.org/Page.aspx?pid=1411).
71 See Bruce Wilson, “Shadow War: Methodism Under Attack,” Talk to Action, February 21, 2006 (http://www.talk2action.org/story/2006/2/21/123844/326).
72 Naughton, “Following the Money”; The Rev. Chuck Currie, “Update: The Institute on Religion and Democracy Funded By Far Right Political Groups,” October 17, 2004 (http://chuckcurrie.blogs.com/chuck_currie/2004/10/update_the_inst.html); Andrew Weaver, “Story of a Hostile Takeover Bid of Churches” (review of Stephen Swecker, Hard Ball on Holy Ground), Amazon.com, June 8, 2005 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0971114625/ref=cm_aya_asin.title/103-6324946-0681413?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155).
73 Quoted in Sydney E. Mead, “Church History Explained,” Church History, 32/1 (March 1963), 17-31.