Down the 9-11 Rabbit Hole
Attempting to tease apart the magical thinking surrounding our national tragedy is harder than spotting a white rabbit
By P. Joseph Potocki
Originally posted: 27 Aug 2008
Picture at right: President Bush listens to Andrew Card inform him of the 9-11 attacks.Read the full article on Bohemian.com.
It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.
--Alice, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
We're hurtling down the rabbit hole. Gravity's refuted. Black is white, and white turns bitter, transfigured by a mawkish Mad Hatter blithely chewing up our Constitution, juggling missile-shaped teacups, splashing sweet, light crude and cold blood everywhere. To anyone who's passed through the last eight years believing whatever George W. Bush and his minions have blown their way, well, best of luck to you, because most of it hasn't been true.
Does that mean, then, that W. and his cronies were behind the 9-11 attacks? Of course not. Some say, however, if it looks, waddles and quacks like a duck and lays duck eggs, then perhaps it's time we re-examine it under oath, because it just might be a friggin' duck. (Fact: Nixon White House audiotapes reveal Tricky Dick literally quacking like a duck. Nixon was a lot of things, but ducky wasn't one of them.)
We're all mad here.
--the Cheshire Cat
Ken Jenkins, a Marin-based videographer, electrical engineer and activist with the 9-11 Truth group, tells of one who responded to certain provocative conjecture with "I wouldn't believe it--even if it were true." It, of course, is the widely held and yet wildly contentious belief that elements within our own government bear responsibility for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; and that the 596 pages of the official 9/11 Commission Report comprise lies, half-truths and intentional omissions. Like the rift between those who detected a foul stench behind the Warren Commission's report on JFK's assassination and those who believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, deeply held 9-11 beliefs place Americans at increasing loggerheads with one another.
Mainstream media and not a few on both sides of the political divide condemn, belittle and ridicule conspiracy theorists, who, in turn, have graced their own movement with the weighty word "Truth." And, just like backers of the official account, the "Truthers" boast vast legions of supporters from across the doctrinaire landscape.
Each side contains its sober thinkers, its celebrities, rational researchers, experts, well-meaning patriots, rabid supporters and total nutballs. Bizarre and contradictory political alliances abound. Reams of paper, books, reports, magazine articles; ceilinged stacks of film and video documentaries; and tens of thousands of blogs and websites--one source contends there are more than 600,000--vie for our attention, proving this issue will not soon disappear.
In one corner there are the "official report" backers, including not only Bush & Co. sycophants, but an armada of Bush-bashers, including such well-regarded lefties as professor Noam Chomsky, journalist Greg Palast, satirist Bill Maher, columnist Alexander Cockburn and the comedy team Penn and Teller. They think the 9-11 Truthers are cranks.
The other side of the ledger boasts its own raft of notables calling for a new independent investigation into the attacks. These include former U.S. senators Lincoln Chafee and Mike Gravel, fellow politicos Ron Paul, Jesse Ventura and Dennis Kucinich, historian Howard Zinn, doc maker Michael Moore, actors Martin and Charlie Sheen, Ed Asner and Rosie O'Donnell, former U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter and retired CIA chairman of the National Intelligence Estimates, Ray McGovern.
'No, no!' said the Queen. 'Sentence first--verdict afterwards.'
Richard Gage is a Bay Area-based architect and the founding member of Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth. He presently has over 400 fellow architects and engineers who've signed on with him, demanding a new investigation. Gage contends that the WTC Twin Towers came down as the result of controlled demolitions. Citing the 10,000-page National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 2005 report on the tower collapses, Gage notes that the report stops before the collapses actually occur. Why? "Because," Gage charges, "if they had gone any further in their analysis they would have had to account for the massive quantity of evidence for the demolition of these two towers."
Well, further they have gone. The NIST last week released a new report centering solely on WTC Tower 7, the focus of much speculation for its hours-later tumble, and now pronounced to be the first steel skyscraper to ever succumb to mere fire.
Even that bastion of the handy-guy, Popular Mechanics, has stepped into the fray, releasing a special report entitled "Debunking the 9/11 Myths." Popular Mechanics says, "Plane debris sliced through the utility shafts at the North Tower's core, creating a conduit for burning jet fuel--and fiery destruction throughout the building."
Jet fuel burns at about 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, while steel doesn't begin to melt until about 2,700 degrees. Even if the steel lost structural strength at somewhat lower temps, and building materials and furnishings stoked the blaze, a 1,200-degree meltdown differential does raise certain questions.
Curiouser and curiouser!
Lots of people think conspiracies never happen, that life at or near the top, where we'd expect conspiracies to originate, is far too intricate and subtle for such shenanigans. Nicholas Lemann, writing on conspiracies last year for the New Yorker, claims conspiracy theories amount to "a view of how the world works that mistakenly empowers particular, and evil, forces with the ability to determine the course of events, and it misses the messiness and contingency with which life actually unfolds."
If we buy into Lemann's argument, then how about the Gulf of Tonkin affair and the explosion on the Battleship Maine? What about Watergate and Iran-Contra, the Tuskegee Study or innumerable covert adventures in foreign coups, economic hits and political assassinations? And what about the 1999 trial when Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.'s family won a wrongful death civil suit against "unknown co-conspirators"? Six white and six black jurors found that "governmental agencies were parties" to Dr. King's assassination plot.Then there are lesser known but equally real conspiracies...
Read the full article on Bohemian.com.