Friday, February 02, 2007

Tales of 9/11 Truthiness

Crimes of the State

Stephen Colbert coined the term "truthiness.

It's pretty damned near impossible to get to the bottom of the September 11th lies we have been told by the United States federal government. This is not an easy task, and conflicting stories abound.Given that, there remain some serious deficiencies within the self-proclaimed "9/11 Truth Movement," as I will explain.

The "truthers" have a general guiding priniciple, that they are only seeking answers to questions. In practice, however, this is not usually the case. In practice, they subscribe to various dogmas handed down from a handful of leaders, people like David Ray Griffin, Kevin Barrett, James Fetzer, Steven Jones, Alex Jones, Webster Tarpley and others. Over time, the opinions of the leaders become accepted as "the truth" and beyond question. It's the beyond question that I will not accept, ever, and this has landed me in the middle of quite a few nasty battles.

Since 2002, I have sent in corrections to print and media news organzations over their shameful coverage of September 11th issues. I also send corrections to the 9/11media which has sprung up. It's pretty hard to maintain credibility as a "truth" movement if you are spreading demonstrably false claims.

Nevertheless, 9/11 website editors are about as intractable and infallible as their corporate counterparts.

Credibility is the key to the kingdom. That is why corporate attack media always smears the movement. They seek to deny credibility to anyone who challenges their place in society, the role of the truth teller. Immediately, 9/11 "skeptics", like myself, are relabeled as "conspiracy theorists," which they tell us are "conspiracy nuts," and that we are "crazy," and "lunatics," and should be wearing "tinfoil hats."

This tired tactic eats up a percentage of the time alloted for broadcast/print space. They have framed the issue (non-credibility), and set the debate on a certain course before any evidence has even been discussed. The 9/11 skeptics are put in a defensive position at the beginning. This is predictable and expected.

Next, the corporate media cherry picks absurd sounding claims in order to further damage the credibility of the movement. Some of these absurd claims are simple mistakes made by untrained "journalists" across the web. Other absurd claims are from disinformation agents, intentionally put out into the public sphere for the purpose of being mocked and attacked. The last category of absurd sounding claims are unresolved issues, where the government has not proven its side of the story, and therefore competing explanations struggle to fill in the void.

Another category: corroborated facts which conflict with the U.S. government's story, are a different animal altogether. At this late date, I must add that the government's stories are many, and have changed over time. NORAD, for example, has presented three different conflicting excuses for why no jet fighter interceptors managed to protect Washington DC, even though they had more than an hour and twenty minutes to show up.

So, as this article is getting bigger and more unwieldy, so does the large body of facts and theories about September 11th. This works against the "truth movement," because established media remains hostile to the credible and corroborated facts, and they promote the numerous and more absurd sounding soundbites in order to discredit all skeptics.

The 9/11"truth" movement shares the responsibility for this credibility gap. And I'll demonstrate why, now.

In a September 2002 PBS documentary called "America Rebuilds," they interviewed Larry Silverstein, the "owner" of the World Trade Center complex.

Because of one remark, made by Silverstein regarding building 7, most of the "truth" movement has concluded that Silverstein, in a phone conversation to the New York "fire department commander" ordered that building 7 be demolished by explosives.

If you are aware of this "pull it" cliam, you probably take it on faith that's what Silverstein meant. If you aren't aware of this claim, it probably sounds specious and inaccurate. Here is the exact quote:

"I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, 'We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.' And they made that decision to pull, and we watched the building collapse." (PBS, 2002)

The first thing that stands out is the phrase "pull it." This is obviously dependent upon what the word "it" refers to. You can find tens of thousands of references on the web. Nearly all of them claim that it means, "pull the building." People from the lowliest skeptics, on up to the ranks of David Ray Griffin, Kevin Barrett, James Fetzer, Alex Jones and Barrie Zwicker have all made this claim without any qualification. Their consensus on this claim is parroted endlessly.

You cannot question this sacred doctrine without being attacked mercilessly by the "truther" mob (below).

The claim is, nonetheless specious and inaccurate.

Determining "pull it" to mean "pull the building", one needs to rely on several misunderstandings simultaneously (and to irrationally cling to them after being corrected).

Misunderstanding 1: "It" couldn't refer to firefighters. Wrong. "It" can refer to an operation involving any number of people. The operation is the discrete unit which correlates to a singular
pronoun. Silverstein's words correlate to "pull the operation," not to "pull the building." This is managerial shorthand, something that does fit in with Silverstein's position.

Misunderstanding 2: The timing of the phone call allegedly proves something. Guess what? We don't know what time the call was made because Silverstein never said. It could easily have preceded the order to stop the firefighting operation and pull the remaining men out, because the phone call indicated that the operation was still underway at the time of the call: "telling
me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire
." It is crystal clear from this sentence that firemen were indeed trying to "contain the fire," i.e. the operation was still in progress.

Misunderstanding 3: The man admits he was talking to the New York City "fire department commander." The NYFD does not implode and demolish buildings. Private demolition companies like Controlled Demolition Inc. do that. Further, the thought of firemen wiring, moving, or in any way touching high explosives in the midst of a raging and out of control fire is absurd on its face.

Unless you have some other evidence implicating the NY Fire Department in blowing up building 7, then you are out of your mind to make this claim. Things just don't happen that way. This is a credibility damaging claim, a claim with implications that you are accusing FIREMEN of being traitors on September 11th 2001. That is not a claim that any fringe movement would want to put out to the general public. You are shooting yourselves in both feet. Words have consequences.

I once believed this Silverstein "evidence," (sic) several years ago. It sounded like the holy grail, a bonafide smoking gun. Alas it is not so. Note that disputing this PBS claim has nothing whatsoever to do with the collapse of building 7, whether it was brought down by explosives or not. I have not adressed that issue at all. I have concentrated only on what Silverstein said during the interview and on the context and implications of that comment.

Like children who cover their ears and sing "Mary had a little lamb" at the top of their lungs, the "truthers" can't handle being disputed. Here is a sampling from

"And if Silverstein's "Pull it" comments
weren't so damning...

then why did Popular Mechanics (and so many others) lie for him by saying that "Pull" isn't a demolition term?"
--stallion4 on Mon, 01/29/2007 - 8:32pm.

"Pull it" is a demolition industry term. Yes, it is. But neither Silverstein nor the "fire department commander" are IN the demolition industry. The "fire department commander" IS in the firefighting business, and that is where the phone call started. "...they weren't sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire." I don't place any faith in what Popular Mechanics says about anything. Their purpose is to discredit all 9-11 skepticism.

Another "truther" thinks he has the real dirt on Silverstein:

"He's a stupid old man... speaking from the cuff...
.thinking that the story that they told us would never be in question... so
there was no need to consider his words would be analyzed or questioned either."
--JJames on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 2:38pm.

That "stupid old man" who has no idea how to speak English just made the greatest business deal in the history of mankind (in his favor)--

"Silverstein put up only $14 million of his own money [7]." ... "In total, Silverstein was awarded nearly $5 billion in insurance money following the destruction of the Twin Towers [13]." -Wikipedia,
Larry Silverstein

Yeah, what a doofus. I'm surprised he can tie his own shoes. THAT's a valid argument.

"to me, he made it sound like the decision to pull and the building collapsing are successive events. He certainly does not mention "later on" or similar." --911veritas on Tue, 01/30/2007
- 2:24pm.

Okay, then:

'We watched the devastation of 9/11, then we saw the overthrow
of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.'

This must mean the two events happened on the same afternoon, in the same hour!
Think, people.

"It's obvious what johndoraemi's agenda is here. No matter what the evidence is, or how many times johnjoraemi is proven wrong, he continues to try to engage everyone in endless debate [Heaven forbid you had to actually think!], repeating the same tired arguments
over and over and over again. --Keenan on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 3:52am.

Has yet to prove a word I said "wrong." The paranoia is very attractive, though.

"Who the FECK do you think you are?
There are witnesses on record saying that members of the FDNY told them that they were going to bring the building down."
--stallion4 on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 2:54am

This one refuses to even attempt to substantiate his claims until I cede editorial control of my website! You wonder if these are mainly junior high schoolers.

It sounds like hearsay, gossip, anyway (inadmissable in court). Note how I am not supposed to question the dogma at all, "Who the FECK do you think you are?"

This is in spite of a long list of reasons to doubt the "truther's" interpretation of that comment:

1. NYFD doesn't blow up buildings.

2. "contain the fire" indicates firefighting operation was ongoing at the time of the call, making it plausible that the purpose was to "pull the operation."

3. Telling "pull it" to a fire department commander has nothing to do with controlled demolition and everything to do with the "fire department commander's" area of responsibility: his men.

4. "Silverstein's spokesperson, Dara McQuillan, said in September 2005 that by "pull it" Silverstein was referring to the contingent of firefighters remaining in the building, and confirming that they should evacuate the premises." -Wikipedia, Larry Silverstein

5. Accusing firemen, essentially, of treason and complicity in terrorism is not something to be encouraged without a "beyond reasonable doubt" case for the prosecution. This is certainly not true here, even though it is quite easy to grab a video clip off the internet and present bogus claims based off of it.

For these and other reasons, I reject the bandwagon of Griffin, Barrett, Fetzer, et alia, and I dare to defy the clown posse at They have not made their case, even though they believe they have. It's quite remarkable, the degree of delusion involved to blindly accept claims that are questionable at best, ridiculous and absurd at worst.

These are issues of credibility. Credibility is all you have when you go up against the US government and the multi-billion dollar corporate media establishment. Credibility should not be assumed, nor should it be taken lightly. It is a precious thing, easily trampled, and constantly under attack (from many sides).

'Truthiness' is just not good enough.