Tuesday, February 17, 2009

9/11 "truth force"

One of the central elements of Mahatma Gandhi’s strategy to free the Indian people from British colonialism was what he called “satyagraha,” a Sanskrit word that is most often translated as “truth force.” What he meant by this was that those who seek justice should embody the truth in their actions.

The strongest element in the campaign for 9/11 truth is the very fact that we have truth on our side (and however “9/11 truth” became the consensus slogan of the movement, it was brilliant marketing). Seven years of independent research and investigation by thousands of concerned patriots, expert and amateur alike, have turned up enough evidence to make the official story of what happened on September 11, 2001, look highly implausible—and prosecutable.

Up to this point, most of the efforts of the 9/11 truth movement have been geared to educating the general public about the facts that refute the official story—the mysterious inaction of the US military; the inscrutable behavior of the chain of command, from Bush on down; the weird “coincidences” in both airline and World Trade Center security; the unexplained global stock trades on companies affected by the attacks; the deliberate confusion of US intelligence; the official attempts to hide the truth, from destroyed video and audio tapes, to manipulation of data in government reports, to profligate use of the “state secrets” privilege; and perhaps most important, the physical evidence, now in the hands of independent scientists, of controlled demolition of the World Trade Center.

It seems to me that 9/11 truth has reached a certain point of saturation in the information environment. The Internet has all the sites one could wish for to find all the information you would need to make the case for 9/11 truth. The Journal of 9/11 Studies, WTC7research, and other sites provide the scientific background. 911Truth.org has the authoritative expertise on other aspects of the case, backed up by at least hundreds of other sites (covering the whole spectrum of credibility). Patriotsquestion911, together with all the professional organizations for 9/11 truth, from architects to whistleblowers (and most recently, religious leaders) give 9/11 truth a necessary respectability among elites. 911blogger and others provide the latest news and grassroots networking capability.

(I don’t intend to slight anyone with this list. These are sites to which I’ve gravitated, personally, based on my individual understanding, whose possible imperfection I freely grant.)

Where the truth of 9/11 has trouble, as “truthers” (official name of 9/11 truth advocates, as certified by the New York Times) are exquisitely aware, is penetrating the corporate mainstream media, from which the vast majority of Americans still get their “news.” As most truthers are also aware, however, the corporate media—which many of us refer to as the Matrix—essentially function as the psychological operations arm of the Empire (the global power elite), and thus cannot be expected to cooperate in their own demise. This is where truthers have the advantage over mainstream American progressives, who seem constantly frustrated and bamboozled by the fact that media are not delivering on the expectation of the nation’s founders that the press would serve as a watchdog over government. Truthers know that 21st century media and government serve the same masters; most progressives still want to believe that the press is “free.”

Regardless of the virtual corporate media blackout of 9/11 truth, however, a substantial number of Americans have serious doubts about the official story. Zogby and Harris polls found that about four in ten think the Bush administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks. About seven in ten think that, whatever the truth of 9/11, the government is hiding information about what happened. The 9/11 truth movement, in films, articles, pamphlets and grassroots street demonstrations, has succeeded in raising enough doubts about the official story to wound the Empire, which has begun striking back A film reviewer in Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times wrote last month that 9/11 truth (which he called “counter-knowledge”) could turn out to be a bigger threat to global monopoly capitalism (which he called “liberal democracy”) than “the authoritarian onslaughts of Stalin and Hitler.”

As a truther, I take that as a compliment.

I’ve been writing about 9/11 truth since shortly after the attacks happened—at first, in my regular weekly column in the Hampshire Review, which is published in one of the reddest counties in the red state of West Virginia (and where, as you might imagine, I was often derided, until I quit the paper in early 2003, as a “conspiracy theorist”); and for the past five years as a contributing writer for Online Journal. My writings have appeared at dozens of websites (both “conspiracy” sites and progressive/alternative sites like Common Dreams and Buzzflash), and I still write occasionally for mainstream media (most recently last month, in the Charleston (WV) Gazette).

For my whole adult life, I have also been a political activist working on peace and social justice issues. I have organized at the local, state and national levels. I have dealt with mayors, city and county councils, state legislators, members of Congress, and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. I have canvassed, petitioned, phone-banked, licked envelopes, edited newsletters, chaired committees and meetings, marched, carried signs, organized demonstrations, served as a demonstration “peacekeeper” and nonviolence trainer, spoken to crowds, been interviewed on local and national television and radio, drafted state law and official resolutions, sued the West Virginia legislature, and once was arrested, tried and convicted for praying in the rotunda of the US Capitol—a conviction overturned by a full US Court of Appeals.

I present these “credentials” not as a boast, but as a “letter of introduction” to a 9/11 truth community who may wonder why someone who has not been particularly associated with 9/11 truth activism would presume to suggest a political strategy for the movement—which is the purpose of this essay.

Any strategic assessment of the 9/11 truth movement must begin with where we are today, in the context of a global world order which obviously, after seven years, doesn’t want the truth revealed. At this point, it seems to me, the movement has been successfully marginalized by the US political establishment, cordoned off into one of the single-issue ghettoes that keep any mass movement for fundamental change in American politics from coalescing. In this respect, it is similar to the movements for peace in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the movement for a single-payer health care program, or most especially, the decades-long effort to reveal the truth about the JFK assassination, which—no matter how many facts continue to come out, as more government documents are declassified—cannot escape the taint of being “ancient history,” and thus of no real relevance to average Americans.

The genius of 21st century American fascism (sometimes known as “neototalitarianism”) is that, by allowing dissidents to say anything they want on the Internet and in small-circulation publications (and only rarely in corporate media), the illusion of political “freedom” is maintained in the minds of the American majority, who thus have little awareness of the degree to which their fundamental rights have been curtailed. So they can watch their jobs being shipped overseas, and know that they are being blatantly and regularly lied to by government and business, and even have their hard-earned tax money transparently extorted by the trillions, yet still retain their faith (or “hope,” in the present case) in the basic integrity of the American political system.

Americans are politically paralyzed by both cognitive dissonance and by what psychologists call “learned helplessness,” the result of years of having one outrage after another foisted upon them, without there ever being any real accountability. So, as many truthers have discovered, the most common reactions of average Americans, when presented with the facts of 9/11, are either, “My government would never do that,” or, “Okay…but what can anybody do about it?”

A good question. The usual answer, and the rallying cry for the 9/11 truth movement, has been the demand for a new, independent investigation. But is this enough?

What virtually all the movements for progressive change in America and the world have in common is a common enemy: a global power elite (numbering in the thousands, perhaps—a tiny fragment of humanity’s billions) with neototalitarian systems of government acting as frontmen, and working in league with a vast underworld nexus, operating outside any concept of law. Both communism and capitalism are obsolete, left back in the 20th century. We live, for the first time in human history, under a system of global fascism—the natural end state of capitalism, as George Orwell predicted.

It’s also the Brave New World Order that Aldous Huxley envisioned. The mass populations of the post-industrial world are kept entranced not only by Prozac and other widely-consumed drugs (both legal and illegal), but by an imperial “bread and circus” so hypnotic that people spend their entire non-working lives interacting with its technology, mindlessly munching on genetically-modified snacks. The next time you want to start a revolution, try walking around the aisles of Walmart and evaluating your fellow working class insurgents. You’ll notice they’ve gotten a little flabby. I often say, if the Roman Empire had television, we’d all be speaking Latin.

So, as any progressive activist working today knows, these are the biggest challenges we face: global fascism and a barely conscious public. In light of that, I ask again: should the demand for a new investigation of 9/11 be the ultimate strategic goal of the 9/11 truth movement? Or should that demand be seen as a necessary first step toward a broader strategic goal of transforming a global system of government that manufactures endless 9/11s, in its efforts to retain power among an existing power elite (who may fight among themselves, but nevertheless work together to preserve the structure of the present global economic order)?

The reason I ask this question is, the goals of a movement should determine its strategy.

If the goal of the movement is a new, independent investigation, we’re already moving in the right direction. Public awareness of the inadequacy of the 9/11 Commission report is building—similar to the eventual public conclusions about the Warren Commission’s investigation of the JFK assassination, but helped along in this case by the doubts expressed by the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission themselves, by revelations in recent years about information withheld from the commission, and even by “limited hangouts” in the corporate media, like Philip Shenon’s book about the commission’s internal dynamics. A few days ago, a column appeared in the mainstream blog, Huffington Post, calling for a new investigation, and even raising questions usually seen only on 9/11 truth sites. Most importantly, perhaps, we have a new president who, early in his candidacy, expressed his support for a new investigation (see the second part of my essay, “Obama and 9/11,” for details).

Where efforts have been lacking, from what I’ve observed, are in the courts and in legislative bodies. On the judicial side, this has less to do with the activities of victims’ families and other activists than it does with judges who have used “national security” as an excuse to keep government secrets hidden. You cannot eliminate the possibility of corruption or threats to personal safety being the underpinning of at least some of these decisions, but whatever the reason, the pattern is one of general obstruction in the judiciary.

On the legislative side, although there have been a few profiles in courage at both the national and state levels, there hasn’t been much activity. In the Congress, GOP Representative Ron Paul and Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich have been most closely associated with 9/11 truth, but both have stepped back from their initial statements on the subject. Once again here, their behavior suggests an element of coercion—which would hardly be surprising, in this political environment.

But the failure thus far to achieve significant results in exposing 9/11 truth in either the judicial or legislative arenas (or the corporate media) offers a clue why a new investigation should only be seen as a step toward a broader strategic goal. It’s easy to imagine that a new investigation may prove to be only slightly more satisfying than the 9/11 Commission report, because it will be taking place in the same political context as the last one. Over the past few decades, America has witnessed any number of investigations of its government’s dark side—from the Church Committee’s report on CIA abuses, to hearings on BCCI and Iran/contra, to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s never-to-be-completed report on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction—that slaked the public’s thirst for action without ever getting any real accountability. And there are plenty of secrets about 9/11 that can be exposed without revealing the underlying rot.

What makes a new investigation problematic, under the present circumstances, is the same thing that makes the truth of 9/11 so difficult for many people to accept: if the consensus position of the movement—that the US government conspired to stage false flag attacks on the American homeland, and that fact is being covered up by a complicit mass media—is true, then America can no longer be considered a democratic republic capable of self-investigation. The institutions of government are simply too corrupt.

This is a truly frightening thought. I think that even many truthers are in denial about the depth of corruption in American government, because it threatens the very foundations—political, economic, social and even psychological—on which most of us have built our lives. When we accept the truth of 9/11, we see clearly the enormity of the challenge we face to return our nation and world to a society based on principles of justice. It is daunting.

So I think, in order to be ultimately successful in its goal of exposing the truth of the 9/11 attacks to a skeptical American public, and having those facts accepted, the movement will have to address the underlying primal fear that 9/11 truth will, by definition, raise—the fear that the institutions by which we order our public lives are no longer valid, and the constitutional dream of democracy has become a totalitarian nightmare. It is a fear that bubbles not far from society’s surface, and is getting more difficult for the power elite to contain.

As is often said, 9/11 truth is the key that can unlock the chains that bind us to a world order that has condemned humanity to a future of exploitation, suffering and mass violence (not to mention environmental catastrophe). We thus have in our possession what may be the missing link that can bind the multiple movements for peace, social and environmental justice, human rights, and a thousand other issues that have labored separately toward what is in reality a common goal.

So my suggestion is that the 9/11 truth movement expand its focus beyond the immediate near-term goal of a new investigation, to the broader strategic goal of working to build a new global society, to transform America and the world. By expanding our strategic vision—while at the same time keeping a focus on 9/11 truth—we will open ourselves to collaboration and cooperation with the millions of other people who are increasingly aware that there is a cancer at the heart of the world’s political economy that must be removed if humanity is to survive. We are, by the very nature of our movement, radicals. And the world needs a radical change.

We can be that change, as Gandhi suggested, by fully accepting the meaning of 9/11 truth and becoming a global “truth force.” And with luck, perseverance, commitment, and faith in our fellow human beings, perhaps the truth will indeed set us free.


Vic said...

I think 9/11 truth is "shoveling shit against the tide". I've found enough incidental material to see that 2008 was a pivotal year for the world. 9/11 was merely the "kick-off event" of the military phase in the apparent plan.

You may want to refer an old Texe Marrs interview apparently taped before the Clinton election (1991) where he claimed the US Dollar would collapse and "they are planing something big for 2008", as it became the first time in history that a "Black Pope" would retire.

In 2000 James of WingMakers wrote that 2008 would user in the era of OLIN (One Language Interactive Network), where the earth would interact through a common interface (Google/Internet?), and that we shouldn't fear the changes. James is an anonymous entity who's writings and intellect I find remarkable.

So where are we? In my humble opinion we appear to be in a monumental struggle between the forces of control and the forces of freedom. The OLIN could simply be the catalyst which awakens the masses into greater awareness via the synergies of unfiltered thought.

The BBC produced a compelling documentary recently debunking the 9/11 movement, and even I was moved to doubt. Eventually, I realized it was the old focus the audience attention on what you want and not the entire picture.

In any case we will need to depend on our patriots in the military and police to be aware of what has gotten us here and that the American War for Independence never really ended.

In summary, we can not stop the New World Order because it truly is an organic process that has been accelerated by the fertilizer of the Internet, but we CAN help steer it towards a world "...with LIBERTY and JUSTICE for All". It is our solemn duty as Americans to invigorate, motivate, and educate our fellow citizens to once again make FREEDOM RING not just from "sea to shining sea" but across the globe. This will be challenge of our age, this will be the WAR we must wage, and price we must be prepared to pay.

As the character in the movie Independence Day said, " ... we will not go quietly into the night ... TODAY we declare our independence".

Can you imagine a world of FREE ENERGY (Tesla)? or a world free many diseases, like cancer? If you can imagine, then what would your life be like? ... Yes it is possible.

FOLLOW THE MONEY to find many answers, going back to 1776 and beyond.

I send you my blessings and gratitude.

Noah_Scape said...

The two articles about 9/11 truth, which I saw at Online Journal, were an accurate description of the "bigger picture" of our world, and written brilliantly.
9/11 doesn't matter nearly as much as the fact that it happens all the time. If "truthers" figure this out,they might frighten themselves, and trigger something even more horrendous than what we have seen so far.
As for Obama's willingness to see, or say, what is going on, it is something I do understand. When I talk to my brother about the oil industry, of which he is a big player in, I have to be carefull to ease into the truth, or he just tunes out altogether. For a long time, I thought he was just a lot smarter than I am and didn't want to bother with such piffle as the issues I was bringing up. Nope, he is just "sold out" and cannot cope with the truth now.

Anyways, thanks for the great articles, I will be reading more of YOU from now on!!

Mary said...

Very good analysis of the state of the 9-11 movement, and a key reason many don't want to accept the evidence--but I'm not so sure about the prescription. "We all need to unite all the progressive movements into one big movement"--even if you managed to persuade everyone in the various movements of this, then what? What do we do about the fact that all of us together still have zero power, that we have all the effectiveness, if we try to change political power toward greater justice, toward equality, toward environmental defense...of ants? I admit I'm in a state of emotional soreness currently, due to the various revelations this week indicating that Obama decided not to change the Bush White House's procurement policy for toilet paper--they're going to continue to use the Constitution. In other words, Obama is much more articulate and mannerly than Bush, has a brain in his own head, and will act on climate change as it has become apparent that it will soon threaten everyone's future, no matter how rich and powerful. But other than that--four more years of Bush, which we absolutely can't take. More wars, more drone attacks on wedding parties in Afghanistan, more government secrets, no accountability for crimes committed by past officials, ever. More grabbing of billions of tax dollars to pay the Masters of the Universe their expected bonuses of hundreds of millions, arranged by snatching tip money out of the pockets of waitresses and gas money from truck drivers.
If there is to be change, it can ONLY come by a mass movement, by the people of this nation arising, by the millions, and demanding it. As you pointed out, the people are flaccid, ignorant, passive as petunias, as easily manipulated as small children. They will arise only when it's far too late. We either need to take over the mass media--probably an impossibility--or go around it.
Or--the other way we can get change is through a massive collapse of civilization--a prospect I find much more hopeful. The current Establishment is so well protected--its media wing ensuring that the people never get enough information to motivate them to act, its corporate wing shoveling the goodies to the small mafia circle that runs things, and its government wing arranging the policies that ensure all this keeps on--that there is just no entry point for change. And most of those who want change are kept busy turning their little hamster wheels faster and faster--"we've got to get lots of people to turn out for the hearing! Everyone write letters to "our" representatives! We'll have a demonstration!" And the groups coordinating all this "action" are funded by "charitable" wings of the institutions that run the show. So I can't see a believable scenario for changing the system. I mean, gradually and peacefully, within the system. But I think the possibility of collapse is quite real, and will open up possibilities we can seize, each in our own localities, to guide our locales toward just, sustainable, multicultural futures.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Your movement is destined to fail if it is based on lies.

The owner of WTC 7, Larry Silverstein, ordered a controlled demolition by using the word "pull"? A lie. "Truthers" have never been able to produce a single citation backing up the use of "pull" by itself to mean this.

The hijackers who crashed the plane did not have the necessary expertise? A lie. They attended flight training and they didn't have to do the hardest part of flying: taking off and landing.

Neither have "truthers" been able to produce a coherent narrative explaining why it was necessary both to crash the planes AND blow up the buildings at the same time. Why wouldn't one alone have been sufficient as a pretext for war.

"Truthers" are not committed to the evidence; they have a radical conspiratorial view that is completely unhinged from the evidence. Ironically, it is this view that completely isolates them and prevents them from achieving the change they seek.