Earlier this year, Allan and I were having an email conversation with a friend, talking about the stolen US elections of 2000 and 2004. The conversation morphed into a discussion about 9/11, and our belief that powerful US people were complicit in the terrorist attacks.
The conversation was very enlightening, and I thought you might like to read it. Our friend, who is part of this blog, wishes to remain anonymous, but gave me full permission to publish our conversation.
The email friend - we'll call him EMF - is from the US, and an open-minded liberal. He's a highly skeptical and critical thinker, someone who knows about the darker corners of his country's history. He is not given to dismissing information outright, nor to gullibly believing it. But he, like many people, regarded the 9/11 Truth Movement as a bunch of "wacky conspiracy theorists". (My thoughts on that loathsome expression are here and here.)
We sent EMF some information. He was initially repelled by the ideas, and wanted to dismiss them. We sent a few links, and we talked about our emotional reactions versus intellectual truths.
EMF began to have serious doubts about the official story(ies), soon saw that there was much more going on than what he had been led to believe. I was especially interesting in EMF's intellectual journey, because it mirrored my own. Perhaps you will be, too.
With Allan's help, I am posting our three-way conversation here in several parts. Please feel free to join the discussion - with one caveat. Read the links. Follow EMF's path. Please, out of consideration for this blog and intelligent discussion, I respectfully request that you do not offer dismissive opinions without at least having read something about the subject.
One further note before we begin. Allan has done a significant amount of research into 9/11. He has worked with Paul Thompson on the Complete 9/11 Timeline, some of which was published as The Terror Timeline; he spoke at a press conference held by 9/11 CitizensWatch before the 9/11 Commission's first public meeting. He researched and wrote this account of George Bush's actions on the morning of 9/11, which has been favourably cited by several progressive writers, including Eric Alterman and Tom Tomorrow. He's read a lot of research from others in the 9/11 Truth Movement, and he's familiar with who are serious researchers and who are - for lack of a better word - kooks.
I say this both out of respect for his considerable knowledge, and as a warning for those who would dismiss this subject out of hand.
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EMF: I remain perhaps more hopeful, less cynical than you and Allan about the US, the 2000 election being stolen (though I do believe there was lots of corruption and that the Supreme Court acted on politics, not law), and the government being behind 9/11, though I do think Bush lied and used it as a pretext for invading Iraq. I also remain more hopeful and less cynical about the press, at least the New York Times. Maybe I just have to in order to get through the day; maybe it is a survival thing. But I do find it important to read and learn - even about things I do not want to believe.
LG: Of course I don't think my take on the 2000 and 2004 elections is cynical, just realistic. Everything I think about it is based on the mountain of evidence that the results of both were fraudulent. Regarding 9/11, of course that's a lot harder to think about, and there's a lot more to know. But the more I opened my mind to it, and the more I read, the less possible it was to deny the complicity.
I know you are more hopeful about the US than I am. It does seem to be (from where I sit) a survival or defence mechanism, which goddess knows you're entitled to. We all have them. If mine had worked more effectively, I'd be writing this from NYC.
EMF: Yes, one person's cynicism is another's realism. I am a fairly skeptical/cynical person when it comes to the government and the establishment in general, but I just find it hard to believe/necessary to disbelieve that our government is so evil that it would allow thousands of people to die a horrific death. The election stuff I find more credible, but since I live here and will vote here, I just need to believe that it will make a difference.
Regarding 9/11, of course that's a lot harder to think about, and there's a lot more to know. But the more I opened my mind to it, and the more I read, the less possible it was to deny the complicity.
Yes, one person's cynicism is another's realism. I am a fairly skeptical/cynical person when it comes to the government and the establishment in general, but I just find it hard to believe/necessary to disbelieve that our government is so evil that it would allow thousands of people to die a horrific death. The election stuff I find more credible, but since I live here and will vote here, I just need to believe that it will make a difference.
LG: Hiroshima/Nagasaki? Napalming Southeast Asia? Bulldozing Iraqis into the sand in the first Gulf War? Etc. etc. etc. And if the sticking point is "these were their own people," I have a few dozen examples of that too.
EMF: Yes, our government has massacred many millions in its history, but ordinarily in the context of "war" where the attacks are openly coming from the US. And yes, of course, we have also backed many covert operations overseas and continue to do so. And sure we slaughtered Native Americans, imprisoned Japanese Americans, and left millions of the poor to live and die in horrid conditions.
But plotting to destroy two huge corporate owned towers populated with upper class white professionals (as well as hundreds of blue collar workers)? If the government wanted to stage an attack to justify attacking Iraq, why not destroy an inner city neighborhood populated by Democrat-voting African Americans? I just cannot imagine even Dick Cheney choosing to kill white Americans. Not even in the name of national security. Call me naive, but I just cannot see even those folks willingly murdering 1000s of people who look just like them.
LG: I should say neither Allan nor I - nor any sane person - thinks Dick Cheney physically sat down and himself plotted an attack. But if people who oppose the US were already plotting such an attack, or would be very open to the idea, funding, organizational aid and support might come from someone who seemed to be a friend, but who was working for someone, who in turn was working for someone, who in turn was working for someone... all down the line, until the buck stopped at some version of the CIA or US govt, in some secret capacity.
The CIA has overthrown govts on several continents and funded the slaughter of hundreds of thousands. The US govt has performed experiments on its own citizens - including white folks. It has sent tens of thousands of Americans of all colours and backgrounds to die in the jungles of SE Asia and the sands of the Middle East. You're putting an awful lot of stock in the phrase "who look just like them," as if that's Cheney, Wolfowitz, et al's main concern. What's a few thousand people when there are such huge profits at stake.
To me, at this point in history, knowing all that we do, to say, "Sure they did this, and this, and this, and this (on and on on), but there's no way they would do that" - and in saying so deny (or refuse to credit) the mountains of very well founded suspicions and/or evidence, instead choosing to believe that thousands of coincidences all took place at the same time - and do you know that even the official govt version of 9/11 has changed several times? - is beyond naive.
9/11 is the singular event from which their entire agenda has flowed and upon which it has been justified - and by which hundreds of millions of dollars of profit are being reaped. For that reason alone - not to mention justice for the victims and survivors - it deserves particular and impartial scrutiny. But it hasn't gotten that. The govt has done everything in its power to prevent impartial parties from scrutinizing it.
And good people of all stripes dismiss any govt complicity as impossible, because it's too terrible to think about. And it is, but the truth has to come first. I don't think you're a Pollyanna, because I shared your views at one point. But the more I read, the more inescapable the conclusion became.
EMF: Lots to consider there. And just one more example in support of your point. Many believe FDR knew Japan was going to attack Pearl Harbor but did nothing to prevent or preempt it so that the government could more easily overcome popular opposition to entering WWII. Since history now tells us that entering WW II was the right thing to do, few express much horror over the thought of FDR allowing Pearl Harbor to happen. So perhaps I should get the stardust out of my eyes and start reading some of that evidence you refer to. I just don't know if I have the heart....
If the government wanted to stage an attack to justify attacking Iraq, why not destroy an inner city neighborhood populated by Democrat-voting African Americans?
No one gives two shits about: (a) an inner city neighborhood, (b) Democrat-voting, (c) African Americans. Also, as I think we can all agree, someone like Cheney has no concern or particular loyalty for anything that we might consider American democratic ideals.
Most of the hijackers were under constant CIA surveillance for years leading up to the attack - hell, two of them lived with a high-level FBI terrorism informant in San Diego for an entire year!!
As we have seen in the years after 9/11, every single one of the "plots" the US has claimed to have broken up were all nothing more than a group of disgruntled (sometimes barely that) nobodies who were goaded into making statements or drawing up silly "plans" by undercover FBI agents who had gained their trust. Naturally, when that all comes out, the high profile arrests and whatnot get very scarce in the media.
EMF: It would have been enough to justify attacking Iraq. If that's all they were looking for.
But I get that the theory is not the the US specifically planned 9/11, just that they "let" it happen by allowing others to plot it and pay for it and then sat back and did nothing to stop it. As Laura said, no one is claiming that Cheney et al actually sat down and plotted attacking the WTC themselves.
LG: For me, there is no theory of what happened. It may always be unknowable. But there is - for me - ample proof that the official story(ies) make no sense, and that so much was known in advance, yet it was allowed to happen.
For me, "let it happen on purpose" is as good as did it. If this govt could have prevented 9/11 and purposely did not, the blood is on their hands.
Now, Allan knows more about it than I do, and he feels "let it happen on purpose" is not strong enough. I've come far enough to not dispute that possibility.
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LG: Also, the way it did happen made the world stop and take notice - then let them do everything they wanted, domestically and abroad. Any of the other possibilities would not have justified the Patriot Act, spying on citizens, Gitmo... it's a very long list.
It would have been enough to justify attacking Iraq. If that's all they were looking for.
I think it was the visual spectacle (the 2nd plane crashing into the tower and the subsequent collapses and rubble) that was the emotional push the country needed. Another type of attacks would not have had the impact in the nation's psyche. This connects with Laura's recent post about the Hedges book. We discussed the snip she posted in light of 9/11 (how can the mighty US think of itself as weak and thus stoke nationalistic fervor), though I don't think she talked about it in the blog.
But I get that the theory is not the the US specifically planned 9/11, just that they "let" it happen by allowing others to plot it and pay for it and then sat back and did nothing to stop it.
I would say there were people in some part of the US govt that planned it. I need to find something on a board I frequent where someone had a good answer to the types that were involved. It transcends countries/borders.
But you are right about not doing anything to stop it. As I have said before, that is the nicest pro-US spin you can put on it. Consider that not one military jet turned one wheel to defend the country for nearly 90 minutes from when the govt knew of multiple hijackings. No military response until after the Pentagon was hit - more than half an hour after the *2nd tower* was hit. How is that possible?
Since that first account (September 13), there have been six more "official" versions of the military response. Indeed, the 9/11 Commission, in its report, made up a new version out of whole cloth that contradicts most, if not all, of the testimony it heard.
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LG: To clarify, it's not the US seeming weak - it's the American people perceiving of themselves as victims. That's an important aspect of the nationalistic fervor for war.
If the American people are being asked to identify with and care about foreigners (e.g., Kuwaitis), their acceptance of war is only going to go so far, once an American death toll mounts. And an embassy isn't enough - too far away, only the US in a theoretical sense. For a major offensive like GWOT, it would have to be an actual attack on the US.
But who could possibly launch such an attack? (Assuming China and North Korea are too busy and not that stupid.) It could only be terrorists. Plus having an attack by people with no state and no country can justify a whole mess of war - Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, whatever they want. No need to be too specific.
I'm well aware that none of this proves anything, I'm not speaking of it in those terms. Just in terms of how perfectly 9/11 works for them.
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[a 9/11 discussion, part two]