New York City activist

March 11, 2008

Second reply to Tom a.k.a. “Representative Press”

I’ll now reply to the latest comment from Tom, a.k.a. “Representative Press.” First, I’ll reply to various blog posts linked within his comment. Then I’ll reply to the comment itself.

Steven Jones’s research

Regarding Steven Jones, I’ve posted the following comment here on Tom’s blog:

Jones has certainly made mistakes.

But I’m convinced that he’s onto something regarding the temperature discrepancies he has noted. (See his latest paper, Extremely high temperatures during the World Trade Center destruction (PDF), especially section 4, “Discussion of relevant previously published data.”)

The problem is that Jones has ventured outside his field of expertise (he’s a nuclear physicist, not a chemist, not a metallurgist, not a structural engineer, and not a forensic scientist), so he probably doesn’t fully know what he;s doing.

He therefore should be doing his research as part of a team of relevant experts. I’m now trying to find relevant experts who would be willing and able to help him or at least advise him, or perhaps do similar research in parallel if they have the means and inclination to do so.

WTC 7, Jones, and Griffin

I’ve posted the following comment here on Tom’s blog:

Regarding WTC 7, I am already well aware of the all issues you’ve discussed here. Please See my blog posts about WTC 7, especially the following posts: Richard Gage’s avowed enemy, part 2 – and my thoughts about WTC 7 and Richard Gage’s avowed enemy, Part 3 – and more about WTC 7. See also my post Demolition of WTC: Let’s not overstate the case, please.

If indeed thermite or a similar incendiary was used, I don’t think it would have to bave been used on every floor. If it had been used on, say, just the core columns and transfer trusses on Floor 5, that probably would have been sufficient to bring the building down.

I agree that Griffin made a lot of errors in describing the WTC collapses, and that too many people have copied his errors.

You wrote: “Gee whiz, if it was our government that did 9/11 then we don’t have to think about the policies of supporting Israel and other oppressive regimes in the Middle East. Is that your freakin’ game?”

Wrong. Most people in the 9/11 Truth movement believe that the point of U.S. government complicity in the 9/11 attacks was to provide an excuse for those very policies. So, the 9/11 Truth movement does encourage people to question those policies, just not in the exact same way that you do.

Al Qaeda’s stated goals and the motives of Al Qaeda members

In reply to Tom’s very enlightening post SCANDAL: 9/11 Commissioners Bowed to Pressure to Suppress Main Motive for the 9/11 Attacks, I posted the following comment here on Tom’s blog:

To Tom:

Very interesting post. I agree that it’s important to understand the real motives of Al Qaeda members and to know what the stated goals of Al Qaeda itself are.

I also agree with you that there has been a lot of pressure to downplay the role of U.S. support for Israel in official U.S. government statements about the goals of Al Qaeda and its members.

Nevertheless, whereas U.S. goverment officials have downplayed the role of U.S. support for Israel, it seems that you, on the other hand, may be over-emphasizing it, relative to other U.S. imperialist policies in the Muslim world, all of which are opposed by Al Qaeda.

As you yourself quoted Osama bin Laden as saying: “… the Mujahideen saw the black gang of thugs in the White House hiding the Truth, and their stupid and foolish leader, who is elected and supported by his people, denying reality and proclaiming that we (the Mujahideen) were striking them because we were jealous of them (the Americans), whereas the reality is that we are striking them because of their evil and injustice in the whole of the Islamic World, especially in Iraq and Palestine and their occupation of the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries.” – Osama Bin Laden, February 14, 2003.

Note that “Palestine” is sandwiched in between “Iraq” and “the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries” (Saudi Arabia). Thus, “Palestine” is indeed important to Al Qaeda, but not singled out as the one most important issue.

Individual Al Qaeda members would likely vary in their motives. Some of them might well be motivated primarily by opposition to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Others might have other primary motives. But the official goals of Al Qaeda itself revolve around opposition to U.S. imperialism in the Muslim world in general, without singling out “Palestine” as top priority.

Anyhow, while I agree with you that it’s important to understand both the official goals of Al Qaeda and the actual motives of its members, I think you should also be open to the possibility that high officials within the U.S. government may have had a role in at least allowing the attacks to happen. See my blog post titled My main reasons for being suspicious about 9/11, especially the section on The war in Afghanistan.

Tom’s spat with Justin Martell

In reply to Tom’s post about Justin Martell, I’ve posted the following comment here on Tom’s blog:

To Tom:

1) Justin may well have misread what you wrote. Misunderstandings happen all the time, everywhere, not just in the 9/11 Truth movement.

2) It’s unreasonable to expect political activists to be interested in debates via private email in the first place. (See my blog post Email debates, and more about Mark Roberts, including the P.S.’s.)

3) It really is rude to make someone’s private email public without permission.

4) For both of reasons #2 and #3 above, I would suggest making all debate public from the beginning. Use your own blog as a place to critique other people’s public writings, then notify the author via email, or via a blog comment, about your blog post. I would suggest that you also post comments on other people’s blogs (while respecting their comment policies, if any, of course).

Reply to Tom’s latest post

I’ll now reply to Tom’s comment here, which is a copy of a post titled 9/11 discussion of basic facts, the “9/11 Truth Movement” is a cruel joke on Tom’s own blog.

A quick point, I do think my gripe was justified, if you look at how the discussion of basic facts is handled, the unwillingness to discuss and the exclusion of the evidence which debunks their claims, this unreasonableness dominates their forums. I think you are trying too hard to find an excuse for the unreasonableness I have encountered several times.

I agree that there are quite a few unreasonably dogmatic people in the 9/11 Truth movement. However, there is also quite a bit of internal debate within the 9/11 Truth movement about the evidence for and against various claims.

You should also bear in mind that disagreement from an insider or an ally will be received differently from disagreement from an outsider or an enemy. That’s human nature, and it is something you will likely find in every political movement.

You wrote, “We all can agree that the “they hate our freedoms” excuse was ridiculous.” I agree. And when I say I agree, I mean that the “they hate our freedoms” excuse was ridiculous. And I assume you know that “we all”does not include all people and that not all people want this truth to be stated.

Agreed. By “we all,” I meant you plus nearly everyone in the 9/11 Truth movement.

And it should be pointed out that mainstream media caters to those who don’t want to think the excuse is ridiculous or don’t want others to think it is.

That’s true to an extent. Depends which columnists you read, etc. But it is certainly true that there’s a lot of mainstream resistance to acknowledging that Al Qaeda could possibly have any legitimate gripes, as distinct from being motivated by pure religious fanaticism, envy, etc.

And I should point out that the “they hate our freedoms” excuse is an excuse used to protect specific foreign policies from scrutiny, the excuse is not being used for no reason, the reason is to hide the real motives. Do you agree?

Yes, of course. A basic rule of war propaganda is to paint the enemy as all-evil and one’s own side as all-good, which means one must refuse to acknowledge that the enemy could possibly have any legitimate gripes. Furthermore, it is deemed “unpatriotic” to pay any attention to the enemy’s actual gripes, rather than just painting the enemy as a monster. Also, there’s the attitude that the media shouldn’t be giving the terrorists what they want, which is to have their actual stated goals publicized.

Look at how pundits omit the specific foreign policies which terrorist themselves list as the reasons why they attack.

Many pundits do this, but not quite all. Sorry I can’t give you specific counterexamples, because I have not been paying any attention at all to any mainstream media pundits lately, but I do recall that, when I was paying attention to various mainstream media pundits a few years ago, not all of them ignored Al Qaeda’s actual political goals. But you are certainly correct that many do.

I would like to point out how sad it is that while “we all can agree that the “they hate our freedoms” excuse was ridiculous,” we all can’t get behind that as a point of discussion to demand that it be addressed in the public forum.

I think you would have better luck with this if you changed your approach to dealing with people in the 9/11 Truth movement. More about this below.

If the “9/11 Truth Movement” is indeed a demand for truth, why isn’t the very first rallying cry a demand that Bush stop lying about the motive for the attack?

Two problems with the above sentence:

1) You would probably get more agreement with the above “rallying cry,” from people in the 9/11 Truth movement, if you were to replace “motive for the attack” with “motive of Al Qaeda members.” People in the 9/11 Truth movement hold a variety of opinions as to the role of Al Qaeda in the attack, vs. the role of high officials in the U.S. government and/or the role of high officials in various foreign governments such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. (See What is your HOP level? by Nicholas Levis. Personally, I do believe that there were live human hijackers on 9/11. The pure-MIHOP scenario does not seem at all likely to me.) Anyhow, regardless of what one believes to have been the role of Al Qaeda in the attack, the vast majority of people in the 9/11 Truth movement would agree with you that (a) Al Qaeda’s primary motive wasn’t “because they hate our freedoms,” and (b) the relevant U.S. foreign policies (or, at least, most of them) are a bad thing.

2) The word “first.” It is unreasonable to expect everyone to share your political priorities. I gather that you’re not a very experienced political activist. If you would like to build an alliance of various political movements against current U.S. foreign policy, it is reasonable to ask various political movements to show support for your goal, but it’s not reasonable for you to demand that they put your goal at the top of their own priority list. Each political movement has its own priorities. The top priority of the 9/11 Truth movement is to demand a new and independent investigation of 9/11. Foreign policy is a concern too, though not the movement’s top priority. If you were to ask nicely, I think many 9/11 Truth groups would be happy to add “Lies about the stated goals of Al Qaeda” to their lists of things that the U.S. government has lied about regarding 9/11. You could probably also, without too much difficulty, convince many 9/11 Truth website owners to carry links to antiwar sites. But you should not expect them, or any other political movement, to take kindly to being asked to drop their own goals and priorities in favor of yours.

This is why it is so frustrating to see the “Truth Movement” doing what it is doing. I think you are ignoring my point about the damage this “Truth Movement” has done. You see their websites, they’re not confronting Bush on his lying about the motive, they totally misdirect people away from the reality of what the attack was about!

See above.

Also, I think you may need to reassess your own overall strategy here. What, really, is your number one goal, and why? Is it (1) to rally opposition to current U.S. imperialistic foreign policy? Or is your goal, more specifically, (2) to convince people to oppose U.S. imperialism solely out of fear of Al Qaeda and not for any other reason? If you can rally opposition to U.Sl imperialism, are people’s reasons for opposing it all that terribly important in and of themselves? Is it somehow nobler to oppose U.S. imperialism out of fear of Al Qaeda than to oppose U.S. imperialism for other reasons?

Anti-imperialists and antiwar activists will inevitably vary in their reasons for opposing U.S. imperialism. I think you need to face the reality that you’re never going to get everyone to agree on absolutely everything. Perhaps you need to choose your battles more carefully.

The constant refrain about an “official story,” as if all politicians and people in government agree on what happened, totally ignores the fact that what Bush says and what the CIA, FBI and others say are not the same thing.

I agree that it’s important to recognize differences between what Bush says and what the CIA, FBI and others say.

The movement’s constant refrain of “official story” is like a propaganda technique which suppresses the fact that Bush and the intelligence agencies are saying different things.

I do not agree with you that the above is the purpose of the term “official story,” but you may be correct that many people in the 9/11 Truth movement have lulled themselves into failing to make some important distinctions.

The “9/11 Truth Movement” is a cruel joke.

No, it’s a bunch of (mostly) sincere but fallible human beings.

And I want to point out that I didn’t say that the “truth movement” was a conspiracy. I think most are independent people who mistakenly believe in a convoluted conspiracy theory and in doing so they unintentionally end up doing what the manipulative commissioners of the 9/111 commission did, cover-up the motives for the attacks.

Saying they “unintentionally end up doing what the manipulative commissioners of the 9/111 commission did” is very different from the following statement of yours, which does indeed imply a “conspiracy” behind the 9/11 Truth movement itself:

These “9/11 was an inside job” websites look like they are well financed and they are duping many people into not questioning policies like U.S. support of Israel. Some people may indeed be deliberately misleading Americans so we won’t look at the real motives for the 9/11 attacks.

Perhaps you might want to change the wording of the above?

Back to your current post:

I appreciate that you are trying to take a serious approach to this so we can end the corrupt political policies and that you’re at least starting to take a critical look at the convoluted “controlled demolition” theory.

I have never been a demolition dogmatist. It has always seemed to me that at least some of the popular arguments for CD of the WTC buildings were unsound. But I strongly suspect that we’ll still find a core of truth on that matter, at least regarding WTC 7, once we strip away all the fallacious arguments.

In any case, the 9/11 Truth movement isn’t just about demolitions. Have you looked at Paul Thompson’s Complete 9/11 Timeline? Have you seen the video 9/11: Press for Truth? Also, what do you think of the testimony of national security whistleblowers such as Sibel Edmonds?


  1. “In any case, the 9/11 Truth movement isn’t just about demolitions. Have you looked at Paul Thompson’s Complete 9/11 Timeline? Have you seen the video 9/11: Press for Truth? Also, what do you think of the testimony of national security whistleblowers such as Sibel Edmonds?=

    Try Mike Ruppert’s: Crossing the Rubicon. It is the backbone of non demolition 911 research…until you have read this Tom, you are missing out on the hardcore research set.

    Comment by realitydesign — March 12, 2008 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  2. “Try Mike Ruppert’s: Crossing the Rubicon. It is the backbone of non demolition 911 research” – realitydesign
    realitydesign, Mike Ruppert has done poor research and his ideas are convoluted.
    “Big ideas, then, but look at the details and you see there’s minimal or no supporting evidence. They just don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    refuting Mike Ruppert’s conspiratorial “timeline” point by point.

    Comment by representativepress — March 12, 2008 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

  3. I haven’t read Ruppert’s book yet, so I can’t comment on his book per se. At some point I’ll look at the pages you mentioned and give my perspective on the issues raised.

    Regarding the 9/11 Truth movement in general, its main problems, as I see them, are these:

    Most political activists, of whatever stripe, don’t have much if any training in journalism or in anything requiring careful research. Most political activists, in general, are more inclined to propagandize than to do careful research. Also, most people in general, not just most political activists, are not accustomed to doing careful research.

    In most political movements, this isn’t too much of a problem, because most political movements deal with relatively simple issues. There isn’t a whole lot that needs to be researched, in the first place. So, in most political movements, the propagandizing tendency mostly just puts the movement’s own spin on already-known, relatively simple facts.

    However, the 9/11 Truth movement deals with a vastly more complex issue than most political movements do. Hence, research IS necessary, and it’s important to be much more careful about it than most political activists (and most people in general) are accustomed to being.

    That being the case, it should be no surprise that a lot of nonsense has been put forth in the name of the 9/11 Truth movement. We need to encourage people in the 9/11 Truth movement to get into the habit of double-checking everything, rather than just repeating stuff they hear that seems to support the cause.

    ETA: Nevertheless, there are plenty of false or questionable claims from the “debunkers'” side too. We should double-check everything and not take anything said by people on either side for granted.

    Comment by Diane — March 12, 2008 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

  4. “refuting Mike Ruppert’s conspiratorial “timeline” point by point.”

    Tom I was talking about the profoundly broad 696 page book written in 2005. Until you read that whole book- as it is Ruppert’s most mature work on 911 it’ll be hard to discuss his ideas further with you. That childish, anger fueled ad-hoc laden website (in my opinion) you provided attempts to debunk a timeline Ruppert did in November 2001. Again, I was talking about ‘Crossing the Rubicon.’

    On another note I wanted to ask you, why is it that the FBI has no hard evidence linking OBL to 911. If you go to their top 10 most wanted fugitives page- they link him only to an older Embassy bombing. I can’t seem to figure this out- ‘no hard evidence’ they said. Any ideas?

    Comment by realitydesign — March 13, 2008 @ 6:31 am | Reply

  5. realitydesign wrote:

    That childish, anger fueled ad-hoc laden website (in my opinion) you provided attempts to debunk a timeline Ruppert did in November 2001.

    I’m now in process of Googling various sources mentioned in the quoted excerpts from Ruppert’s timeline. That website’s anti-Ruppert comments are turning out to be way off base. More about this later.

    This is the kind of research we all need to get in the habit of doing, to be sure that we know what we are talking about.

    Comment by Diane — March 13, 2008 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

  6. (This comment is an edited pingback.)

    The post linked below is the first part of the more detailed reply I promised in my comment above.

    – Diane

    Pingback by To Tom: Michael C. Ruppert vs. “COINTELPRO Tool” on Afghanistan « New York City activist — March 14, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

  7. In this comment by Tom, below my post To Tom: Michael C. Ruppert vs. “COINTELPRO Tool” on Afghanistan, Tom complained that I didn’t address two points that he claims to have raised in his comment here on this page. My preliminary response is here, below his complaint.

    To Tom: Looking more closely at your earlier comment here on this page, it doesn’t actually raise the two specific issues that you later complained that I ignored. Your earlier comment just points to two links in support of a very general, sweeping statement about Ruppert’s allegedly lousy research. And the second link is to a page which deals with lots of issues.

    Nevertheless, I’ll now give my very preliminary response (subject to change as I do more research) on the two specific points you complained that I ignored.

    1) As for the claim that Cheney was put in charge of NORAD, I have never looked into that claim at all, so I can’t comment at this point. I’ll just say I’ve never seen this particular point as a top priority issue in terms of building a case for U.S. government complicity in the attacks of 9/11. At some point I should look into it, of course, but it’s far from my top priority. There are quite a few other issues pertaining to NORAD, the war games, etc. that I should dig deeper into as well.

    2) As for the claim that Osama bin Laden was treated at the American hospital in Dubai, I’m aware that it’s based on a single unsubstantiated news report. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the claim is false. (After all, there are obvious reasons why both the CIA and hospital officials would deny this story even if it were true.) But it does mean that this story can’t be considered strong evidence of anything.

    However, there are plenty of other reasons to suspect that the relationship between Osama bin Laden and the U.S. State Department may be something other than what the official story claims. See the collection of pages listed under 3. Evidence that Osama Bin Laden never severed ties with the CIA. Documentation of his Involvement in NATO attacks on Afghanistan in the 1980s and the Balkans during the past decade. on the Emperor’s Clothes site. I should disclaim, though, that I haven’t yet researched that larger issue in as much depth as I would like to either, so I don’t necessarily stand by every claim made in that section of the “Emperor’s clothes” site. I should dig deeper into the question of the possible relationship between Osama bin Laden and various high U.S. officials.

    You wrote: “I hope the tone of this response doesn’t sound too gruff, it is not my intention. I just wanted to nail down specific facts. I think a lot of 9/11 conspiracy stuff endlessly shifts focus when specific points get debunked. I think that is not a good thing obviously.”

    Well, there are lots and lots of reasons why various people suspect something fishy about 9/11. So, even if as many as 90% of those reasons turn out to be unfounded, the remaining 10% would still be quite a bit. In the meantime, various people might not be making the best choice in terms of what to emphasize.

    P.S.: I’ve been looking at various pages on the “Emperor’s Clothes” site. The following articles are especially interesting:

    Credible Deception: The NY Times and the Sudan missile attack by Jared Israel (Written 8-28-98, revised 9-16-99, reposted 2-18-2001) – not about 9/11, but includes some interesting stuff about Osama bin Laden, which is excerpted on the page Osama bin Laden: Made in USA. The rest of the original article is interesting too, in terms of exposing media whitewash of how the Clinton administration flouted international law.
    The creation called Osama by Shamsul Islam – refers to the book Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid (who is said to be the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and The Daily Telegraph of London), published by Yale University Press. I should get this book at some point.
    Election Myth #1: George Bush Fights Muslim Terror

    P.S., 3/16/2008: Apparently there has been some corroboration, after all, of the story of Osama bin Laden’s stay at the American hospital at Dubai. See this post by Nicholas Levis in the Truth Action forum, a copy of his comment here on my blog (using the name “Jack Riddler”).

    Comment by Diane — March 15, 2008 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

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