New York City activist

October 27, 2007

Agent-baiting, guilt by association, and religious bigotry

When people in the 9/11 Truth movement accuse each other of being government agents, an all too common type of “evidence” is guilt by association. A has some connection to B, who in turn has some connection to C, who in turn has some connection to the CIA or some other spy agency, or perhaps a connection to an elite fraternity such as the Skull and Bones. Therefore, A must be an agent, or at least we should all worry that A might be an agent.

Similar “connections” to the Communist Party were a staple of the McCarthy-era witchhunts back in the 1950’s.

The problem with this kind of “reasoning” is that there are also huge numbers of innocent non-agents who, knowingly or unknowingly, are likely to have indirect connections either to spy agencies or to elite fraternities.
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October 26, 2007

Identifying disinformation agents?

The online 911 Truth movement seems to have gotten caught up in an orgy of agent-baiting, with people on both sides of various divides either outright calling each other “disinformation agents” or, at the very least, insinuating that the leaders of the other side are probably disinformation agents.

The main divide is between what I think of as the saner and wackier branches of the movement. Admittedly my terminology is far from objective and makes clear where I stand.

By the wackier branches, I mean advocates of things like no-planes theories (especially WTC no-planes theories), video fakery, Star Wars beams, etc,. Many (though not all) of these folks also advocate claims about some vast, generations-old conspiracy that controls and micromanages the entire world, usually “the Illuminati.” (See The recent growth of anti-Illuminism: Dreadful ideology about the dreaded Illuminati and More about anti-Illuminism.) Some of their claims are blatant physical impossibilities. For example, a “Star Wars beam” powerful enough to “dustify” the towers would probably also ionize the air, causing the beam itself to glow like a lightning bolt. Obviously we didn’t see anything like that on 9/11.

By the saner branches, I mean those who (at least for the most part) reject stuff like the above, and who recognize the need for critical thinking and careful research.

But even some people in the saner branches seem to me to be way, way, way too quick to think of people on the other side as “disinformation agents.”

Now, it is indeed likely that there are government agents of various kinds among us, given the past history of COINTELPRO, and given more recent legislation such as the PATRIOT act. But, it seems to me, some of the kinds of behaviors that have been identified as “agent-like” behaviors are very commonplace among other people too, with other, more commonplace motives. So, it seems to me, these behaviors are far from a reliable way to spot an agent, although many of them are bad behaviors in their own right.
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October 25, 2007

Mike Gravel

On Tuesday I attended a press conference held by Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Gravel, on the steps of City Hall here in New York City. He spoke mainly about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, about which we were originally warned by Dwight Eisenhower. I totally agree with him about the dangers of the military-industrial complex.

I and several other people from New York 9/11 Truth were there because he was going to sign a petition having to do with health care for the first responders. However, at the press conference, not many questions were asked about the first responders. Not sure why. Perhaps the relevant people just didn’t show up?

Anyhow, Gravel is the only presidential candidate I’m aware of who doesn’t mind holding a press conference with a few people in the background wearing T-shirts that say “Investigate 9/11.” A while back, I recall seeing an announcement urging people in the 9/11 Truth movement to attend a rally in support of Ron Paul, but specifically asking us not to wear any clothing with a mention of 9/11.

Below is more info about Mike Gravel:
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October 23, 2007

9/11 Truth movement conservatives, please stand up now

On the truthaction.org message board there is a thread titled Bill Oreilly Call Maher Infiltrators “Far Left”, about the folks who recently disrupted Bill Maher’s show.

I keep saying that The 9/11 Truth movement needs a more visible, better organized left wing! I still think so.

But right now, on the other hand, would also be a good time for the conservatives in the 9/11 Truth movement to take a public stand as conservatives instead of pretending to be “beyond political labels,” as all too many of them do. (See Are you a paleoconservative? Find out!) By taking a public stand as conservatives, they could help make it clearer, to the general public, that the 9/11 Truth movement includes people of many different political persuasions. If a well-dressed group with a name like “Conservatives for 9/11 Truth” or “Republicans for 9/11 Truth” were to picket Bill O’Reilly’s studio, that could get a lot of people thinking.

If the left-wingers, the right-wingers, and the centrists among us were all more visible to the general public as such, this would make it harder for other people to smear us either as just a bunch of left-wing nuts or as just a bunch of right-wing nuts.

October 21, 2007

Reply to “Nerd World Order” about the page “The 9/11 Conspiracy guys are retarded”

In response to my Reply to some folks at Screw Loose Change, “Nerd World Order” wrote:

Read this:
http://www.pointlesswasteoftime.com/911truth2.html

It demolishes the twoof movement better than I could ever hope to. If you’re serious enough to actually answer the questions, please take a look at this.

I’ve looked at it. It contains many of the same kinds of arguments I myself would have made against the 9/11 Truth movement before this past summer, when I finally got curious enough to start examining the issues in-depth. I am, by the way, a person who has spent a lot of time debunking certain “conspiracy theories” which I still reject, such as the “Satanic ritual abuse” scare. So, when I was reluctantly convinced that there really was something to this WTC demolition stuff after all, I kept the typical pitfalls of “conspiratorialist” thinking very much in mind, and I think I’ve managed to avoid those pitfalls.

Anyhow, below is my detailed response to the above page, which is titled “The 9/11 Conspiracy guys are retarded.”
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October 20, 2007

Reply to some folks at Screw Loose Change

For whatever reason, Screw Loose Change has noticed my post about Chip Berlet and “Conspiracism”. In the post at Screw Loose Change, The Chameleon Truth Movement, Pat seems to have jumped to the conclusion that I’m a “Bilderberg nutbar.” Hopefully my comments over there have straightened out any misunderstanding along those lines. (I don’t see the Bilderberg Group as a grand conspiracy, but as just another vehicle of ruling class influence on governments. I hold a pretty standard leftist view on this matter. See also my posts The recent growth of anti-Illuminism: Dreadful ideology about the dreaded Illuminati and More about anti-Illuminism. The only reason I mentioned the BIlderberg Group in my response to Chip Berlet was to correct his statement that it’s a bankers’ group, when in fact it includes many other people besides just bankers.) I’ll now reply to subsequent comments at Screw Loose Change.
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October 19, 2007

War games, etc.: A preliminary overview of some of Mark Robinowitz’s evidence about 9/11

In a comment on my post about Chip Berlet and “Conspiracism”, charlienneb has asked me to recommend an assertion of Mark Robinowitz’s for him to take a look at. So, I’ll now try to present what Robinowitz has said is some of his best evidence. I cannot vouch for everything he says, because he deals with a lot of matters I personally have not yet researched in depth.

For me personally, regarding 9/11, the smoking gun is the straight-down vertical, almost-symmetrical collapse of WTC 7, plus all the subsequent hampering and fudging of investigations. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time studying arguments for and against the idea that WTC 1 and 2 too were demolished with explosives and/or thermite/thermate, and I’m inclined to think it’s highly likely that they were.

But Robinowitz, on the other hand, prefers not to rely on demolition theories, or on physical-evidence arguments of any kind. He has made some good arguments against relying on physical evidence. Most people have almost no scientific background whatsoever and hence are not in a good position to evaluate physical evidence on their own. Although I’m no expert either, I personally do have a strong general scientific and engineering background, including two years of physics in college, which, I believe, is enough background for me to evaluate most (though not all) of the scientific arguments that have been made on both sides. But most people don’t share my background, so it would behoove me to see if I can build a solid case for government complicity in the 9/11 attacks (at least LIHOP, if not MIHOP) without any reference to demolition, either in the direct physical evidence or in the evidence of a coverup.
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October 17, 2007

More about anti-Illuminism

While looking for info I could use in a pamphlet against anti-Illuminism, I came across Pat Robertson, Illuminism, and the New World Order by S.R. Shearer, a conservative Christian who opposes anti-Illluminism and some other fascist-like trends within the religious right wing. Of particular interest to me was footnote 11 of section II:

The linkage here that Robertson is attempting to make between the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers is critical in the modern day version of the Illuminati Myth; the conjunction is necessary in order to tie the Old World to the New World in the grand scheme of things – and how better to do it than by uniting what most people consider to be the wealthiest family of the Old World to the richest family in the New. All variations of the myth make this linkage; some versions even attempt to paint the Rockefellers as Jews – they were in fact Baptists. The fall back position apparently has been to tie the Rockefellers to Jacob Schiff (a Jew), and then join the Rockefellers to the Rothschilds using Schiff as the linkage – which is precisely what Robertson does here – using Warburg and the Aldrichs as additional ties. All this is straight out of the “Jewish-World Conspiracy.”

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October 14, 2007

Chip Berlet and “Conspiracism”

Chip Berlet is a leftist writer who opposes the 9/11 Truth movement. In my opinion, he raises valid objections to what he calls “conspiracism” (which he distinguishes from the kinds of conspiracies that are actually likely to exist). But he wrongly classifies, as full-blown “conspiracism,” the idea that 9/11 was an inside job. Thus he echoes what seems to be a key propaganda ploy on the part of those covering up major crimes by high-level people within the U.S. government, namely lumping the evidence for such crimes together with some truly wacky (and truly dangerous) ideas to create the stereotype of the nutty “conspiracy theorist.” Berlet also, apparently, either ignores or has not yet looked at some of the better evidence for government complicity in the attacks of 9/11. On the other hand, I also think that what Berlet calls “conspiracism” is a genuine and dangerous trap which too many people in both the 9/11 Truth movement and the anti-war movement have fallen into, and it would be wise to pay attention to critiques of same.
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October 12, 2007

The recent growth of anti-Illuminism: Dreadful ideology about the dreaded Illuminati

In both the antiwar movement and the 9/11 Truth movement here in New York City, I’ve often run into people talking about “the Illuminati.” In the antiwar movement, I haven’t yet run into this in any official statements by any leaders or groups, but I’ve run into it a lot in informal conversation at anti-war rallies and at informal gatherings in restaurants after meetings. In the 9/11 Truth movement, on the other hand, a few of the major leaders and groups officially promulgate an ideology which has no official name, but which I will refer to as anti-Illuminism.

Anti-Illuminism is sometimes referred to, by its opponents, as “Illuminati conspiracy theory,” a term I don’t like because of the frequent propagandistic use of the term “conspiracy theory” to lump together truly wacky conspiratorial claims, such as Henry Ford’s The International Jew and David Icke’s claims about the Queen of England being an alien lizard, together with more reasonable theories about possible government wrongdoing, thereby discrediting the more realistic theories.

So, I’ve chosen instead to resurrect the late-1700’s word “anti-Illuminism.” (For some history of that word, see the Amazon customer review of The Politics of Unreason: Right Wing Extremism in America, 1790 1977 by Seymour Martin Lipset; Conspiracy Nation‘s review of Architects of Fear by eorge Johnson, reviewed by Brian Francis Redman; this page of Constructing Postmodernism by Brian McHale; and The Anti-democratic Movement by Paul de Armond.)

Based on what I’ve looked at so far, I’ve not yet found any good evidence that the Illuminati still exist, let alone that they secretly control the world. Most of the “evidence” I’ve seen so far has revolved mainly around various organizations’ use of particular symbols, as if the different groups couldn’t just be stealing ideas from each other, or perhaps using the same symbols to mean different things.

I also have big problems with many of the political beliefs and aims that typically accompany – and follow naturally from – belief in “the Illuminati.”
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October 4, 2007

Pentagon no-757 theories: debunkings from within the 9/11 Truth movement

Filed under: 9/11,9/11 Truth,Jim Hoffman,no-planes theories,Pentagon — Diane @ 1:42 pm

The claim that American Airlines Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon has been widely promoted, e.g. in the video Loose Change, but has been hotly disputed within the 9/11 Truth movement. The larger of the two scholars’ groups, headed by Steven Jones, rejects it. Below is a collection of links to writings by people in the 9/11 Truth movement who oppose the Pentagon no-757 theories.
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