The River

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Is Dis Info?

I appreciate that Alexander Cockburn does not give credence to alternative theories of 9/11, but why does he need to go off on 2,755-word rant to tell us how much he HATES not just alternative theories, but the people who hold them?

His September 10th Counterpunch piece is far from a debunking. Instead, it’s an essay featuring ungrounded speculation and death-defying leaps of logic – the very thing he purports to be concerned about.

For example, when discussing the question of why no planes were scrambled to intercept the errant flights, he says it's due to stupidity, cowardice, venality, weather [weather?] and the whims of providence. Would Cheney's hijacked plane drill for that morning have anything to do with it? Don’t ask Cockburn, because he doesn’t attempt to fit the fact into his “stupid bureaucracy” theory, acting as if it didn't happen.

However, Wikipedia states: "During the September 11, 2001 attacks, the US was holding multiple war games." And Michael Kane of From the Wilderness writes:

We know multiple Air Force war games were running on the morning of 9/11, as documented extensively in the mainstream press. 16 What Crossing the Rubicon has documented conclusively is that there was a live-fly drill taking place on 9/11 titled Vigilant Warrior. Richard Clarke disclosed the name of this drill on page 4 of his book, but it was Major Don Arias of NORAD who confirmed the definition of the title "Warrior" to Mike Ruppert via email.

Warrior = JCS/HQ NORAD sponsored FTX, or field training exercise (live-fly). 17

That means that the Vigilant Warrior drill conducted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff involved at least one real commercial aircraft in the skies, intended to simulate exactly the kind of airliner hijack emergency presented on 9/11. Coincidence?

This was further supported by an April 18 2004 USA Today article titled, "NORAD had drills of jets as weapons." The report cited NORAD officials who confirmed live-fly drills were conducted using hijacked airliners originating from the continental United States used as weapons crashing into targets including the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The specific drill USA Today referred to was "planned in July [2001] and conducted later" - likely on 9/11 itself. 18

Cockburn's not interested. Instead, he compares the failure of the routine scrambling of jets to intercept hijacked planes to the failure of a test of "minutely prepared plans of the Strategic Air Command” involving an “impending Soviet attack would have prompted the missile silos in North Dakota to open, and the ICBMs to arc towards Moscow and kindred targets." To use one of his favorite charges, the comparison is ludicrous. Nuclear missile launches and routine, easily executed police procedures have nothing to do with each other, no matter how far you’d like to strain your logic.

To further back up his “stupid bureaucracy” theory, Cockburn regales us with tales of Giuliani’s corrupt handling of the emergency preparedness of New York’s Port Authority, police and fire departments, as if these have any bearing on the 9/11 attacks.

According to the article, to consider alternative theories to 9/11 is just as crazy as believing the moon landing was faked. “The proponents of the “fake moon landing” plot tend to overlap with the JFK and 9/11 nuts,” Cockburn tells us, all but extending his middle finger inches from our faces.

He devotes long passages of his screed to drive home his guilt-by-association insults, alternatively implying that 9/11 theorists are anti-Semites as well as bigoted to Arabs. He writes, "many of them start with the racist premise that “Arabs in caves” weren’t capable of the mission," without any awareness that such a statement can be used to mock the official story, not Arab abilities in general. Four paragraphs later he implies questioners of one of the world's biggest unsolved crimes are no different than anti-Semites worried about Jews taking over the world.

This need to fit all who give credence to alternative narratives into into the same nutcase mold, no matter how nonsensical, is, ironically, a great example of the simplistic and illogical worldview he wants us to shake our heads about.

Curiously, he says his brother Andrew, who is writing a book about Rumsfeld and the DoD, “has seen photos taken within 30 minutes of Pentagon impact clearly showing outline of entire plane including wings." He adds helpfully that "This was visible momentarily when the smoke blew away." Now I don't pretend to know if the Pentagon incident explanation holds up or not. Like everything else, it looks fishy because so much information is classified. Similarly, the government has not seen fit to release these wing-revealing photos to the public.

Cockburn thinks the towers fell because they were "badly built as a consequence of corruption, incompetence, regulatory evasions by the Port Authority" and because jet planes crashed into them. Sounds reasonable enough, but doesn’t this rely on speculation that the towers were built in such a way as to be perfectly viable 110-story buildings (how many corners can you cut on a skyscraper?), yet were also constructed in such a way that should a plane crash into them, they will collapse into their footprints. If I were stoop to the level of Cockburn's article, this would be a good point to wonder if he thinks a phantom jet plane crashed into WTC 7, but I won’t go there ;-). Still, his article ignores the fact that a 47-story office tower collapsed at near freefall speed into its own footprint after suffering minor damage and a few isolated fires. Official government reports don’t even pretend to have a conclusive theory as to why this building collapsed.

Cockburn also posits that placing charges in the towers would take a conspiracy of thousands. It’s a wild claim, but he doesn’t stop there. Since he’s so revved up on his theories, he continues with more unfounded speculation. For some reason, known only to Cockburn, he thinks the companies/agencies involved in removing the evidence, the WTC debris, would have to be in on the conspiracy. Yes, he mocks, "tens of thousands of people" would have to be "silent as the tomb to this day." Wow. Incredible.

Ultimately, I think this whole freedom thing is too much for Cockburn. The world just isn’t big enough for 9/11 researchers, theorists, and nutcases. Everyone must be on the same page, with us or against us, that’s the only way we’re going to defeat the terrorists…I mean the Bush Administration.

Not that the (don’t forget the scare quotes) “conspiracy theorists” care about that, implies Cockburn. If we could just shut them up, the progressive agenda could move forward, he concludes. Then all will be well and everyone can sleep tight, with their 9/11 Commission report tucked securely on their nightstand.

Secrecy of the culprits was a big part of 9/11. Several planes were on cource to cause havoc. two in NYC and One in Washington D.C. or may be 2 in Washington D.C. The events of 9/11 made the has made the people vigilent. The travelers rise up and sub due the trouble makers. There are have been several such subduing incidents. The only way the tregedy could have been prevented was for the people in the plane intervene. But then probably they did not know that there was trouble in the plane.
Extraordinarily good answer to Cockburn's piece, Bruce. One thing that puzzles me is that so few question the degree to which the buildings' were built for 'deconstruction' (demolition or 'life-cycling'). Okay, so the WTC was designed using IBM's super computers, but it incorporated many innovations. Were the city of New York, given the tatty state of most of its skyscrapers and bridges, not to have insisted on easy 'deconstruction' being built into the towers in the early 1970s, I'd find such neglect (especially in lower Manhattan) suspicious. Planning for easy deconstruction is not about conspiracy; it's a popular EPA topic covering safety, waste management and, of course, money. Larry Silverstein's statement that 'they' ordered that officials "pull" the towers is consistent with safety. That leaving two monuments to U.S. vulnerability (or criminal hypocrisy) standing would have caused immense embarrassment and economic damage to the U.S. are, albeit important, side issues. I guess people just choose to not see that which they wish not to see. It's easier that way... for them. And yeah, how about those photographs then. After five years, they should be able to come up with something.
Everyone must be on the same page, with us or against us

That's the big, implicit problem in his essay that I didn't spot in my first reading. Does my skepticism make me objectively-pro people with whom I might disagree? I like your more ecumenical take on this, Bruce.
I read with great interest your piece on 9-11 conspiracy. I have to wonder, where is the hard, debunking evidence to contradict these theories? I read a theory by a Physiscist with a doctorate from Vanderbilt. Is he a kook? He doesn't theorize who may really be responsible, but his research on the structures is very compelling. Why can't anyone get to the TRUTH whatever it may be?
Mike, Silverstein was referring to WTC 7 when he famously said on PBS that he made the decision to "pull it." This is an incriminating admission, yet there has been no follow-up, not in legal channels nor in mainstream media. I believe he was asked about the statement and he said he was referring to firefighters. Two big problems: one, which I don't know whether to believe, is that it has been said there were no firefighters in the building at the point in time to which he could be referring to and two, which I think is very incriminating, is he clearly says "pull it" and both the context in which he said it and the fact that he said "it" not "them" points to only one thing: controlled demolition. The explanation is an obvious lie. So what does this man who bought the center, backed by the Kuwait-American Corp., privatizing it for the first time and changing the security contract to a company owned by W's brother Marvin (Securacom) and is now trying to recoup $7.1 billion from insurers on a $124 million investment have to hide? Plenty. This also serves as a great example of what happens when somebody "talks." It doesn't matter. The buildings also had an asbestos problem and apparently couldn't be demolished until the asbestos was removed, a very costly project. Silverstein is said to be very close to Benjamin Netanyahu, who is such a sick fucker that he actually gloated on Sept. 11, 2001: “It’s very good. Well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy [for Israel from Americans].”
Yeah, J Alva, pretty sad that Cockburn fritters away his reputation by using such blatant bullying/propaganda tactics.
Bill, I assume you are referring to Steven Jones, who surmises that thermite was used to bring the towers down. Of course he is not a "kook" and that's my point (one of them). Why attack him, label him a kook, etc. when, controlled demolition or not, he is definitely in his right mind to question the government's story. I mean, Bill, isn't something wrong when Bush and Cheney fought an investigation, finally gave in and then testified together in secret for an hour or so? Osama did it and you can't apprehend him? That's the most ludicrous "theory" I've ever heard. If all they are hiding are their failures, their gross dereliction, they still need to take their punishment, not strut around starting illegal wars of aggression, shredding the constitution, etc. etc.

Also, Jones has already come under the favorite attack of bullying cowards -- he's been called a anti-Semite. Yeah, that's another one -- what's Israel got to do with it?
I think you'll like this Paul Craig Roberts article, Bruce. It's thoughtful and conservative.
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