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.

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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