9/11: truth, kooks and obstruction

At every War Resister Support Campaign event I've attended - and, I'm told, at every peace rally and progressive event in Toronto - people from the local 9/11 Truth Movement are present. Normally, I would be inclined to think this was a good thing. 9/11 is the singular event from which so much that we object to has flowed, and there is so much we don't know about it. Links between what really happened leading up to the attacks and what is happening today are crucial to our understanding, and should be crucial to the peace movement.

However... what actually happens is not at all a good thing. The Toronto 9/11 Truth folks hold a huge banner reading "9/11 Was An Inside Job," which, in my opinion, is extremely off-putting. I don't know what their slogan is shorthand for, but its implication is, to put it mildly, not a good starting point.

And that's the least of it. There's one guy who shows up at every event. He holds a megaphone and walks around shouting "Nine-eleven Was An Inside Job" over and over. He does not engage in discussion; he only hides behind his megaphone and shouts. When asked to stop, he will often point his megaphone directly into someone's face and chant his slogan at them. He contributes nothing. He educates no one. The sole effect of his show, as far as I can see, is to turn people off the idea that there is anything substantial about the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Every movement has its share of kooks. I've been an activist for most of my life, and I've never been involved in a cause that didn't attract at least a few nuts. Some are people whose hearts are in the right place, but because of social ineptitude or control issues or who knows what, they are unable to participate in a group dynamic. Some don't even seem to have their hearts in the right place, and one can only wonder why they're there at all.

So the kooks are always there. But I've never seen a movement whose public face is the kooks themselves.

As you know, my partner Allan is involved in the 9/11 Truth Movement, and we've talked a lot about why the craziness is so visible. Allan believes that much of the kookiness is planted, or at least nurtured, by the enemies of the movement. That may be so. I think the nature of the movement - how much information is unknown and possibly cannot be known - may also attract a certain variety of activist. And then, all movements for change attract some kooks. The answer is probably some combination of the three.

The presence of 9/11 Kook In Toronto has caused me some personal discomfort. At War Resisters Support Campaign meetings, the phrase "the 9/11 people" is shorthand for these disruptive, counter-productive, megaphone people. I think, to a lot of people's minds, the 9/11 Truth Movement is 9/11KIT.

When I was tabling at the peace rally in October, the other person at the table said, "The 9/11 people are like the unwanted relatives at every event. No one wants to go near them." He thought he was making a joke. I said something like, "That guy is obnoxious, but there's a lot more to 9/11 than meets the eye." It was lame, and didn't go anywhere, but I was glad I said something.

But mostly it doesn't feel appropriate to speak up - saying something would in itself seem disruptive. So I'm left sitting there feeling like I did in junior high when someone would make a crude anti-Semetic remark, never guessing I was Jewish.

Here on wmtc, I notice that when I blog about 9/11, no one leaves comments. I don't know if that's because readers don't know much about the subject, or because they think I'm a kook myself for giving the ideas credence, or because they know Allan is passionate about it, and they think if they disagree I'll go off on them. Or maybe just a coincidence. Other topics don't garner a lot of comments, either.

* * * *

The catalyst to these thoughts was the recent admission by the official 9/11 Commission that their investigation was obstructed by the White House and the CIA. This should be a giant HINT, HINT telling the public that what they think they know about the events of September 11th is, at the very least, woefully incomplete.

Of course the entire mainstream media has completely ignored the 9/11 Truth Movement. But much sadder, and more dangerously, most of the alternative media has either ignored it, or worse, outright ridiculed it. I'm hoping that this recent admission starts to break that silence.

One recent positive sign about this appeared this past week, when Glenn Greenwald wrote about it in Salon.
The bi-partisan co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, jointly published an Op-Ed in today’s New York Times which contains some extremely emphatic and serious accusations against the CIA and the White House. The essence:

"[T]he recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation."

More strikingly still, they explicitly include the White House at the top of their list of guilty parties:

"There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. — or the White House — of the commission’s interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations."

To underscore the seriousness of their accusations, Keane and Hamilton end with this:

"What we do know is that government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the [sic] greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction."

It's hard to imagine a more serious scandal than this. As I noted the other day, it is a confirmed fact that Alberto Gonzales and David Addingtion — the top legal representatives of George Bush and Dick Cheney, respectively — participated in discussions as to whether those videotapes should be destroyed. The White House refuses to disclose what these top officials said in those meetings. Did they instruct that the videos should be destroyed or fail to oppose their destruction? The NYT previously quoted one "senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter [who] said there had been 'vigorous sentiment' among some top White House officials to destroy the tapes."

Thus, we have evidence that "top White House officials" vigorously argued that these videos should be destroyed. The number one aides to both the President and Vice President both participated in discussions as to whether they should be, almost certainly with the knowledge and at the direction of their bosses.

And now we have the 9/11 Commission Chairmen stating as explicitly as can be that the mere concealment (let alone destruction) of these videos constituted the knowing and deliberate obstruction of their investigation into the worst attack on U.S. soil in our history. Combined with the fact that the videos' destruction almost certainly constitutes "obstruction of justice" with regard to numerous judicial proceedings as well, we're talking here about extremely serious felonies at the highest levels of our government.

Both legally and politically, it's hard to imagine a more significant scandal than the President and Vice President deliberately obstructing the investigation of the 9/11 Commission by concealing and then destroying vital evidence which the Commission was seeking. Yet that's exactly what the evidence at least suggests has occurred here.

What possible justification is there for the White House to refuse to say what the role of Addington, Gonzales, Bush and Cheney was in all of this? Having been ordered by Bush’s new Attorney General not to investigate, are the Senate and House Intelligence Committees (led by the meek Silvestre Reyes and the even meeker Jay Rockefeller) going to compel answers to these questions? In light of this Op-Ed, do Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee think the White House should publicly disclose to the country the role Bush and Cheney played in the destruction of this evidence? If there are any reporters left who aren’t traipsing around together in Iowa, it seems pretty clear that this story ought to be dominating the news.

If you can't access the Salon link, Greenwald's column is available here, complete with links, on Common Dreams. Read. Think.

If you're interested in learning more, the bottom of this recent wmtc post contains some good links to get you started.

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